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Reid close to return but Tigers clash comes too soon

Sam Reid is on the cusp of returning for the Swans after overcoming a nasty quadriceps injury, although Thursday's top-of-the-table clash against Richmond will likely come around too quickly for the key forward.

Next round's blockbuster against Geelong at the SCG looks a more realistic return fixture for Reid, which would lighten the load on Lance Franklin, who has been forced to play almost a sole hand as the tall forward for Sydney this season.

On the mend: Sam Reid.

Photo: Edwina Pickles

Reid will be given the chance to train on Tuesday, after which a decision will be made on his fitness, but Swans head of football Tom Harley suspected the key forward would need one more week.

Defender Lewis Melican is in a similar boat to Reid, having suffered a hamstring injury in the same game as his teammate, virtually in the same passage of play.

"Thursday for an AFL recall might come around too fast. There is load issues and all those sorts of things," Harley said.

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"The plan was always to be available after the bye. They're training well at the moment, we've got another training session on Tuesday [to determine] as to whether they're available.

"[They] haven't had any setbacks and we're looking forward to having both of those players back soon."

News of Reid's impending return won't sit well with rival AFL clubs, who have watched on powerlessly over the last month and a half as Sydney have reeled off six straight wins.

After losing three of their first four at home this season, the Swans look to have ironed out their troubles at the SCG and they remain unbeaten on the road in 2018.

Reid's absence and the off-season retirement of Kurt Tippett have forced the Swans' coaching staff into operating with a makeshift and inexperienced forward line, which has often led to Franklin being double teamed.

It has also left Callum Sinclair saddled with the bulk of the ruckwork this season, after Sam Naismith suffered an ACL injury during pre-season training.

Franklin's younger teammates have been superb in picking up the slack, with rookies Ben Ronke and Tom McCartin enjoying stellar seasons, and second-year star Will Hayward picking up where he left off in his first year.

While Reid remains only a small chance to face off against the Tigers, veteran Jarrad McVeigh is in no such doubt after Harley declared the 33-year-old would be good to go having shaken off the calf issue that kept him out of the club's last-start win over West Coast.

"He had a really minor calf issue and we chose the path to manage him through that game and not play," Harley said.

"It gave him an opportunity to rest a few other niggles, not that he had too many to be perfectly frank.

“He could have played if we needed him to, but he has benefited by not playing that game and then having the bye.

“He will be absolutely right to go against the Tigers on Thursday night.”

Thursday's clash will be the first between the Swans and Richmond at Etihad Stadium since 2006.

James Buckley

James Buckley writes on AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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