How is Sydney's injury list faring?

With less long term injuries than years prior, Sydney coach John Longmire has had less headaches at selection. Picture @sydneyswans.com.au

How is Sydney's injury list faring? A relatively healthy list at this stage of the season has Sydney on the verge of a return to the finals.

How is Sydney’s injury list faring? A relatively healthy list at this stage of the season has Sydney on the verge of a return to the finals.

Sydney had a bad run with injuries in 2020 and was sorely missing key pillars across the park. But in 2021, Sydney has had much better luck, with players such as Lance Franklin resuming their positions in its best 22.

Coach John Longmire spoke about the silver linings of Sydney’s injury woes in previous years, and how it is reaping the rewards from it in 2021.

“You need to have a good run with injuries, that’s a really important part, but when you don’t have a good run, like we did last year, and a bit of the year before, you’ve gotta use those opportunities to give some young players the opportunity to play AFL footy and see how they go,” he said.

“We’ve been able to get that over the last year or two, and hopefully – the injury runs are really important, to be able to get your best players on the ground.

Some of the best players for Sydney this year have been youngsters, and some that have exploded on the scene after 2020 debuts.

However, some of them have picked up niggles along the way.

Chad Warner has missed several weeks with a shin injury alongside fellow Rising Star nominees Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden having had their own injury concerns, with Campbell still sidelined with a shin issue.

Longmire spoke about the possibility of resting some of the other youngsters in the final weeks of the year, to sure them up for a potential finals berth.

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“It’ll be a case-by-case situation, you know Errol Gulden missed a number of weeks, he’s come back into the team now, we’ve still got Braeden Campbell and Chad Warner out of the team with stress related injuries,” he said.

“So hopefully they come back into contention in the next few weeks, which’d be important. Those guys have shown some really good footy this year, and it’d be good to get them back in.”

Sydney faces perhaps it’s toughest test yet on Sunday when it takes on the Western Bulldogs.

The Dogs boast one of the strongest midfields in the competition, with Jackson Macrae, Marcus Bontempelli and Tom Liberatore just a few cogs in Luke Beveridge’s machine.

But Longmire says it will be a full effort across the park to combat the Dogs.

“We had a chat about the opposition this [Friday] morning, but we’ll get into the detail this afternoon,” he said.

“The challenge is when you’re playing a talented team like the Doggies, there’s probably seven or eight of them that you look at and you go ‘hey you could go with any of them.’ So, you’ve gotta make sure it’s a team approach, that’s an important part of it.”

The hype surrounding 2020 draft Pick 1 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan will reach its peak with his debut, but Longmire won’t be quick to give him any special attention at this stage.

“We’ll play all the opposition players the way we need to play them. We respect what he’s able to do as a talented young player, obviously that’s why he got picked where he did, because of his talent. And we respect that, and we’ll plan accordingly,” he said.

“[But] Outside of that he’s another player from the Doggies that we’ve gotta try and restrict.” he said.

Sydney takes on Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium at 3:20pm on Sunday.

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