AFL: Swans trio Tom Hickey, Paddy McCartin and Logan McDonald set to return

There are injury reinforcements on the way for the Swans, but a reliable member of their backline is in doubt for Saturday’s match against Gold Coast.

Heart-and-soul ruckman Tom Hickey is poised to make an early return from injury for Sydney’s clash with Gold Coast at the SCG on Saturday.

Hickey sustained a high-grade medial ligament setback against the Western Bulldogs in round 3, and the Swans’ medical staff couldn’t see him returning inside six weeks at the time.

But the 31-year-old has made a habit of beating injury prognoses and has trained well in recent days but will still need to prove himself at Thursday’s main session.

Hickey is one of three potential inclusions for John Longmire’s team, with concussion sufferers Paddy McCartin and Logan McDonald rated even better chances of facing the Suns after a week off.

“Paddy McCartin and Logan McDonald are absolutely right in that frame. They trained today and we expect them to train again on Thursday and be available at this stage,” Longmire said.

“Tom Hickey trained at the back end of last week, trained over the weekend and trained again today, so we expect him to train Thursday and he’s a strong chance as well.

“While he’s not quite over the line; he’s done everything and more that’s been asked of him, so we wouldn’t be surprised if come Thursday he’s available.”

But there is genuine doubt about defender Harry Cunningham, who is dealing with an abdominal strain and woke up sore on Monday after Sunday’s home defeat to Brisbane.

Sydney received somewhat of a reality check on Sunday in a marquee top-four showdown with the Lions, with a five-goal burst in the first 11 minutes of the second half – including four to Lance Franklin – not enough.

Longmire conceded post-match that his Swans, who are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their 2012 premiership this weekend, weren’t quite at Brisbane’s level yet.

“We fell short on the day, but we felt like we still did some things that were pretty good,” he said.

“We were five points away at the 15-minute mark of the third term, (but) there is a bit of a gap and we’ve got to make that up but also make it up by playing well against the Gold Coast Suns this week.”

Former co-captain Josh Kennedy was back in the selected 22 against the Lions after being the medical substitute the previous fortnight, and Longmire said his role would change depending on the week.

“The reality is he’ll play where he can help us as a team, which Josh is fully invested in,” he said.

“He’s been fantastic for this footy team and he’ll continue to play an important role in this footy team this year – he’s been wonderful.

“There’s not a black and white answer, if you’re after one … he’s one of the best team men I’ve seen and this year I probably had doubts on whether he could even be a better team man.

“But he’s certainly shown it this year, which is a real credit to him and the type of person he is.”

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