Sydney co-captain Jarrad McVeigh insists his side’s mental toughness will enable them to cope with the turmoil of losing Lance Franklin and three other key players for their AFL qualifying final clash with minor premiers Fremantle.
Franklin on Tuesday was ruled out of the Swans side indefinitely after the club revealed he was suffering from a mental health condition.
Co-captain Kieren Jack and fellow midfielder Luke Parker had already been ruled out of Saturday’s game, and on Tuesday Longmire said defender Nick Smith would miss a second match with a hamstring issue.
“One of the greatest challenges in football, that we’ve had, is playing against Fremantle in Perth,” Longmire said.
McVeigh felt the Swans game style and ability to deal with adversity would stand them in good stead against a fresh Dockers side.
“We know everyone is going to say why we can’t win this game of footy,” McVeigh said.
“But we’re pretty confident in our ability and the way we go about things, that our footy will stand up.
“We’ve dealt with a few things throughout the year, but we’re strong enough mentally and a strong enough group to be able to cope with these things.”
The Swans demonstrated their mental toughness last month when they produced one of their best performances of the year after another tumultuous lead-up.
They thrashed Adelaide in a game their dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes stepped down from after he was affected by persistent booing from opposing fans.
McVeigh, who will return from a calf injury that kept him out of last week’s win over Gold Coast, dismissed the suggestion Sydney would need to use Franklin’s plight to react in a similar fashion as they did against the Crows.
“There’s a preliminary final on the cards if you get up, so no matter what happened this week, there’s always a huge spike in intensity and hardness (in finals),” McVeigh said.
“We understand it’s going to be a very hard game obviously, but we’re more than confident we can get the job done.”
McVeigh apart, small forward-midfielder Ben McGlynn was expected to be available for just his second senior game in 13 weeks.