Sydney coach John Longmire is considering pitching Sam Reid straight into the cauldron of Friday’s AFL blockbuster against unbeaten ladder-leaders North Melbourne at the SCG.
The fourth-placed Swans will check on concussed fullback Ted Richards later in the week, while centre half forward Reid is scheduled to play his first game of the season after recovering from a hamstring injury.
“He (Reid) will certainly play at some level, he’s been training now for a long time and training really well, so we’ll have some discussions at match committee.
“The likelihood is he will come back through the reserves and get some game time there.
“But our conditioning staff are really confident he can play big minutes this week based on what he’s done over the last six weeks.
“He is a very important player for us, we’d like to bring him in the senior team as quick as we can, whether it’s this week or not, we’ll have to have that discussion.”
Longmire said Richards was okay, but he would wait till Wednesday before a decision was made on whether the veteran would play on Friday.
If Richards isn’t right, Reid’s chances of selection could improve, as he could also play down back on one of the Kangaroos three tall forwards, Drew Petrie, Jarrad Waite and Ben Brown.
“It depends upon what we need down back at certain times,” Longmire said.
“For instance this week they are a bit taller and if Teddy doesn’t play, what happens with that if Sam Reid was up and going?”
Longmire said Gary Rohan had been earmarked to play down back a fair bit this season, but was required more as a forward after kicking three goals in his comeback game against Hawthorn last Friday.
“His ability to mark, but also put genuine heat and pressure on the opposition is very important for us and at the moment we certainly see him playing a bit forward,” Longmire said of Rohan.
Former North Melbourne key forward Longmire rarely gets excited about games, but even he admits Friday’s match is a big deal.
“You can’t deny it, it’s a big game for both teams, it’s a real test for both teams,” Longmire said.
“North Melbourne has been the dominant team of the competition so far this year.
“They’ve played a consistent brand of footy and they are a very even team.”