Sydney have recalled Jeremy Laidler for Saturday’s AFL clash with the Western Bulldogs but veteran Ted Richards will play another match in the reserves.
Richards will again line up in the NEAFL this weekend as he continues to regain match fitness.
The Swans said the 33-year-old defender was not still suffering the effects of the concussion sustained last month against Hawthorn that left him pondering retirement.
Richards, who has endured an injury-plagued season, should be a good chance of selection for the following weekend’s game against Geelong.
“I think for him, first and foremost, (the key is) to get back to wanting to play footy and then playing at a high level because we know that’s required – and to have trust in himself to go back with the flight, or put his head in a position that’s not in a great spot,” Swans co-captain Jarrad McVeigh said on Thursday.
“To get that confidence back – we need that from him to trust him in the team.”
Laidler was a late withdrawal from the win over Melbourne a fortnight ago with knee soreness, but passed a fitness test on Thursday and would retake his place in the Swans’ back half.
It means young defender Aliir Aliir comes out of the side, despite his promising performance against the Demons in just his second senior appearance.
With leaders Hawthorn having a bye, the second-placed Swans can go top of a congested ladder with a win on Saturday at the SCG.
McVeigh said the outcome hinged on the ability of the Swans’ forwards to shut down the Bulldogs’ efficient running defence, an effective part of their game despite the absence of creative captain Bob Murphy (knee).
“The forwards play a huge role every week but more so this week,” McVeigh said.
“(The Bulldogs have) got a lot of elite ball users who do run the footy out well and have a lot of pace.
“With Bud (Lance Franklin), Gary (Rohan), Ben McGlynn and James Rose up there, chasing those guys down and putting pressure on them will be a huge part of the game for us.
“We value our forward pressure and the work off the ball, and those guys will have to bring that this weekend.”
McVeigh will qualify for AFL life membership in his 277th match for the Swans.
Along with his 20 pre-season games and three International Rules appearances, he’s set to hit the qualifying 300-mark.
The 31-year-old has been in excellent form despite a belated start to the season, after hamstring tightness had delayed his return from off-season knee surgery.
Since his return, McVeigh has shown versatility in numerous roles, playing forward in the midfield and defence.
“The strength of my game has been able to play in different positions,” he said.
“At this point, it’s along the halfback line which I trained for in the pre-season so that’s what I’m really enjoying.”