Lewis Jetta is not considered a certainty to make a senior return against Hawthorn on Friday night despite a strong comeback in the reserves, as Sydney aims to snap its winless run against its three rivals in the top four.
The reigning premiers are concerned by Jetta’s lack of match conditioning and are considering whether to rush him back this week or recall him for their second final.
Jetta has not played in the seniors for three months but he pleased Swans coach John Longmire at the weekend with his offensive and defensive play, amassing 16 possessions, two tackles and a goal from about 55 minutes of game time in the NEAFL.
Jetta will not play any game at all this week if he misses out on a senior recall because the Swans reserves have a bye after winning their semi-final.
”It was just his first run; it’s a fair way from playing yesterday to an AFL final on Friday night against Hawthorn,” Longmire said.
”Whether we think he’s able to come in and play as a sub we’ll have to work out this week, or do we give him another couple of weeks of training?”
Longmire said Nick Smith, Dan Hannebery and Kurt Tippett would all play barring mishaps.
Adam Goodes will not face the Hawks but remains in contention to feature later in the Swans’ finals campaign after training strongly on Friday.
”He had a big running session and ran the best he has since he got injured,” Longmire said. ”He felt really good, ran really well and pulled up afterwards really well. He was really pleased with what he did on Friday, which is a good sign.
”We’re going to try and run him more this week with the view of training him next week if everything goes well.”
Lewis Roberts-Thomson did not play on the weekend and his chance of a recall is likely to depend on injury to another player.
”We didn’t want to be rushed into it yesterday and force him to get an injury just for the sake of playing and getting 30-40 minutes of game time,” Longmire said.
”We’re just hoping he’s able to train and get himself into a position where he can give support if we need to.”
Against fellow top four teams, the Swans have lost twice each to Hawthorn and Geelong and drawn against Fremantle.
First Qualifying Final
Hawthorn v Sydney Friday, 7.50pm, MCG
Lance Franklin could still yet escape match review panel sanction, but the planning for him to miss at least one week will have already begun. Fortunately, Cyril Rioli should return from an ankle injury, as well as ruckman Max Bailey, which would allow Jarryd Roughead to stay forward. The Swans also have big “ins”, with Dan Hannebery and Kurt Tippett set to return, but Lewis Jetta’s status will probably be uncertain all week.
2013 MeetingsRound 7: Hawthorn 18.11 (119) defeated Sydney 12.10 (82) Luke Hodge starred and Roughead, Franklin, Jack Gunston and David Hale all kicked at least three goals as the Hawks burst out of the blocks and never looked back.
Round 23: Hawthorn 17.10 (112) defeated Sydney 16.4 (100) An improved eff ort by the Swans, but the Hawks proved why they deserved to win the minor premiership with a sixgoal final-quarter surge that sealed the deal.
Why Hawthorn will win: Because they did on Friday night, and also in round seven, and now come back to the MCG where they are even more comfortable. Sydney’s strengths against them – midfield depth and outside pace – seem to have been nullified and Brian Lake has added another dimension.
Why Sydney will win: Because even though the Hawks have shown they can win without Franklin, winning a final against Sydney without their key forward target is another task altogether – if he is rubbed out. The Swans have lost three of their last four games. But that could be a good sign, given they did exactly the same thing last year and timed their run beautifully into September.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.