Rampaging Sydney are set to regain inspirational captain Josh Kennedy for their Friday night blockbuster with flag favourite Adelaide.
The Swans will find out on Monday the extent of youngster Nic Newman’s knee injury but will otherwise be at full strength for one of the most daunting assignments in the game.
With a home game against lowly Carlton to round out the home and away season, the clash in Adelaide is shaping as crucial to the Swans’ chances of securing an unlikely top-four berth.
If the Swans can become the third side this year to conquer the Crows at Adelaide Oval, pressure would then rise on Richmond to beat both Fremantle (away) and St Kilda to cling to fourth.
Kennedy’s likely return will be a massive boost for the Swans, who crushed the Dockers to post their 12th win from their last 14 games.
The midfield bull has missed the last two games due to a hamstring issue but was very close to returning on the weekend.
“At this stage we expect to get Josh back,” Swans coach John Longmire said. “He ran quite well on Thursday, got to almost 100 per cent. The only thing he didn’t do was get into the training part of it which would have made him OK to play this week but we expect him to be OK for next week.”
Newman hyper-extended his knee but it’s unknown if he has suffered any structural damage.
Ruckman Sam Naismith is battling a hip injury though will face a challenge to force his way back into the team with Kurt Tippett and Callum Sinclair playing well against Fremantle.
Tippett, who has endured a checkered 2017, turned in arguably his best match of the year with two goals, 13 possessions and a game-high eight tackles. The tall trio of Tippett, Lance Franklin and Sam Reid combined for eight goals.
“We moved pretty well together. We were able to put them under pressure as a defensive group – that’s what it’s all about,” Tippett said.
“I haven’t been there a lot this year so hopefully we can continue next week and keep building.
“There’s a lot of energy, it’s functioning really well.”
The Swans should not fear Adelaide Oval, having won three of four games at the venue. Their most recent trip produced a 10-point loss to the Crows in one of the games of 2016.
“We go to Adelaide and play on a ground that is a real challenge against a team that’s the best in the competition at the moment, and we look forward to that,” Longmire said.
“It won’t be easy, they’re a great team and they deserve to be where they are at the moment.”