Swans back youngsters in derby heat
JOHN Longmire has decided to ease Heath Grundy back to football through the NEAFL rather than the heat of Saturday's Sydney Derby at Spotless Stadium.
Grundy has missed the Swans' last two matches after taking leave to deal with mental health issues.
After the massive blow of losing Alex Johnson to his sixth ACL injury last Sunday, Grundy was discussed as a replacement key defender but the Swans coach has decided to go with the speed and mobility of Zak Jones and Dan Robinson.
Jones has missed the past two matches through suspension.
"Zak gives us some important run and carry through the midfield of down back," Longmire said.
"Dan has been in and out a bit. He can play a number of roles in the midfield and has been a bit unlucky this year. We've been pleased with our kids right through this year."
Longmire will again rely on his band of young and inexperienced players to lock away a finals spot, and potentially snare a top-four finish if they can win against the in-form Giants and follow up in the final round against Hawthorn at home.
Rookies Tom McCartin and Ben Ronke have starred for Sydney in recent weeks along with Jordan Dawson, Will Hayward, Ollie Florent and Aliir Aliir.
"As long as they continue to play good footy against the best footy teams at this time of the year it's a real step forward for them," Longmire said.
"The Giants have been able to score heavily at stoppages and general play over the last month. They are a hard-running team with quality players all over the ground. They know what we're about and we know what they're about it's just a matter of who plays their best on the day."
The Giants have again been able to find quality replacements for their growing injury list with Jeremy Finlayson, Harry Perryman and Daniel Lloyd coming in for Heath Shaw (knee, season), Josh Kelly (concussion, one week) and Sam Reid (hamstring, one week)
"Those boys coming in are all in good form and get their opportunity to step in and play some AFL footy in a big, A-grade game," GWS coach Leon Cameron said.
"The more experiences they get at that, the better off we're going to be as a football club. As disappointing as it is to have three quality players go out; three good, young, quality players come in and are champing at the bit to play their role for the footy club."
Cameron said Kelly was close to recovering from his concussion but just ran out of time.
"Maybe if it was a nine-day break rather than a seven-day break Josh would definitely play," Cameron said.
"The main thing is that every day he's got better and better and he's now symptom-free but under the protocols he'll run out of time. We've just got to make sure we look after him in preparation for the week after."
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