Lance Franklin’s recovery from shoulder surgery is near complete, with Sydney confirming his participation in the AFL’s pre-season competition.
The star forward won’t play in Sunday’s clash with North Melbourne in Coffs Harbour after undergoing an operation to repair a tear in his shoulder joint in October.
But acting coach Brett Kirk said Franklin is a certain selection for their clash against Greater Western Sydney in Blacktown the next weekend.
“Lance had a really good hit-out on Wednesday,” Kirk told reporters on Friday.
“He was close to playing (on Sunday), but given the no-risk policy this time of the year (he won’t).”
The near-fitness of 247-game player Franklin adds to a positive injury outlook for last year’s runners-up ahead of their round one clash against Port Adelaide at the SCG on March 25.
Midfielder Luke Parker has overcome a limited pre-season with knee problems to be named against the Kangaroos.
Tall forward Sam Reid, who missed all of the 2016 season with achilles, calf and hamstring injuries, will also run out on Sunday afternoon.
“This time of the year, it’s about managing their minutes, preparing them for round one,” said Kirk, who will stand in for head coach John Longmire at Coffs Harbour International Stadium.
“Sam’s (Reid) just chomping at the bit to get out and play. He’s done all the pre-season. It’s a first full pre-season he’s done in a long period of time.
“You can see the smile on his face, running around, finishing the intra-club and (he’s) ready to play against good opposition again.”
The pre-season clash will also be Josh Kennedy’s first outing as Sydney captain, while veterans Jarrad McVeigh and Jeremy Laidler will join Franklin on the sidelines.