The week off looks as if it could be the difference for injured Sydney stars Lance Franklin and Luke Parker but coach John Longmire is unsure of its value.
All-Australian captain and forward Franklin and midfielder Parker missed Sydney’s final-round AFL game against Hawthorn due to groin issues.
Both are expected to train on Tuesday and Thursday and be available for Saturday’s elimination final derby against GWS at the SCG.
“It’s a bit hard to give an absolute ironclad guarantee on a Monday but they have got a level of confidence that they will both be available to play,” Longmire said.
The bye between round 23 and the finals is now in its third year.
Sydney finished sixth on the ladder, one spot ahead of their local rival.
The Western Bulldogs won the competition from seventh in the first year of the pre-finals bye in 2016 but Longmire still isn’t certain whether the break really helps the fifth- to eighth-placed finishers or even the top four.
“I think we’re still getting our heads around that,” he said.
“There was a bit of a feel a couple of years ago that if you finished in the top four you won the first week and had the weekend off, whether that was good or not.
“I’m not sure whether we absolutely know it. I’m not sure whether we will ever know.
“All I know is we need to play a month of good football starting this week.”
Swans skipper and midfield dynamo Josh Kennedy said the week off was good but he would have no issues if it was scrapped.
“It’s been good for the fact that it gives a few players a little bit more of a chance to get up,” Kennedy said.
“But certainly itching to get out there this week, the anxiety levels are starting to rise and the excitement is certainly here for Saturday.”
Fellow midfielder George Hewett has done an admirable job locking down opposing players this season and looks certain to get an assignment on Saturday.
There’s no shortage of potential targets for Hewett, with Kennedy rating as “first-class” a Giants on-ball division containing Josh Kelly, Dylan Shiel, Callan Ward and Stephen Coniglio, plus there’s also the danger provided by All Australian half-back Lachie Whitfield.