Reserve-grade trio Sam Naismith, Toby Nankervis and Tom Derickx are all candidates to step up in place of injured ruckman Kurt Tippett when Sydney face Melbourne and their star big man Max Gawn.
In-form Tippett tore a hamstring tendon in his right knee during the Swans’ 42-point loss to Greater Western Sydney last weekend, ruling the 29-year-old out for up to six weeks and leaving coach John Longmire’s side short against the Demons at the SCG on Sunday.
Longmire said he was still deciding how best to fill the gaping hole left by one of his top performers.
While he was confident in the abilities of Tippett’s ruck partner Callum Sinclair to work on his own he envisaged he’d need two men to take on Gawn, rated by the coach as arguably the most in-form ruckman in the AFL.
One of the NEAFL ruckmen would most likely be promoted to the senior team to plug the gap.
“He (Tippett) will be missed, but I’ve always been a believer of having a team of ruckmen,” Longmire said on Wednesday.
“We’ve got three ruckmen who have played senior football (before) and played reserve football for us this year, and there’s no doubt those guys will play a big part going forward into the rest of the season.
“Nankervis, Derickx and Naismith have all played senior football so we feel as though a combination of all those at different times will be required.”
Longmire said Gary Rohan would be fit to play after being cleared of hamstring damage from multiple corks, an assessment backed up when the 25-year-old utility trained with the team at the SCG on Wednesday.
A decision will be made on Ted Richards sometime in the next day, though his selection appears to be touch and go after the veteran defender missed three weeks battling concussion symptoms.
Longmire revealed injury-prone forward Sam Reid would have played his first senior game of the season against the Demons had he not re-hurt his calf early in the last quarter on NEAFL.
Reid is expected to be sidelined for three weeks.