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The Roar


AFL News: Swans sweat on star recruit's knee injury, Suns not panicking despite pre-season thrashing

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29th February, 2024

Sydney are confident recruit Taylor Adams will be match-fit for an opening-round debut after sustaining a knee injury during the Swans’ 25-point pre-season loss to Brisbane.

Adams had impressed in his first hit-out in the red and white on Thursday, before a tackle from Brisbane’s Cam Rayner sent him to ground in the third quarter at Blacktown International Sportspark.

The former Collingwood player immediately grabbed his left knee and was ruled out of the rest of the AFL community series match with a mild medial ligament strain.

The Swans went on to suffer an 8.8 (56) to 12.9 (81) loss to the Lions in their final dress rehearsal before the season opener.

Sydney assistant coach Jarrad McVeigh was optimistic Adams would not be out of action.

“He got a knock to his knee so we played that conservatively,” McVeigh said after the game.

“He’s still clearly a chance for next week.”


Already pushed back due to sweltering weather conditions, the match was delayed another 30 minutes after the western Sydney venue, perhaps taking a leaf out of the Gabba’s book, was plunged into darkness by a power outage.

The Lions showed no signs of a hangover from last year’s grand final loss to Collingwood.

With the Lions near full strength, it was Brisbane’s usual stars – Dayne Zorko (two goals, 20 disposals), Lachie Neale (22 disposals, eight clearances), Keidean Coleman (19 disposals) and Hugh McCluggage (31) – who fired the visitors to dominance.

A scare ran through the Lions camp when Neale, in his first hit-out following off-season groin surgery, appeared in pain after young Swan Angus Sheldrick blew into the Brownlow Medallist’s shoulder in the second term.

Neale nursed the injury and was able to play the rest of the game.

Zorko stole the show early. The veteran midfielder, entering his 13th season still chasing an elusive premiership, flashed the same grit as his 23-year-old debutant self with a classy goal in the opening 30 seconds.


Brisbane had no shortage of firepower with eight different goalkickers, as Lincoln McCarthy kicked three goals and Eric Hipwood two.

Though all eyes were on Adams in his unofficial Swans debut, it was former Demon James Jordon who played the best out of the new recruits.

The 22-year-old had 31 disposals and four clearances, numbers rivalling those of powerhouse midfielder Errol Gulden (24 disposals, two clearances, one goal).

Earlier, Adams showed his class and racked up 15 touches and seven clearances before he was injured.

Adams’ former Collingwood teammate Brodie Grundy (27 hitouts) again starred in the ruck.

John Longmire’s men were without star midfielder Luke Parker after the former skipper broke his arm during the last quarter of their practice match against GWS.

The 2016 All-Australian joins captain Callum Mills on the sidelines for the opening-round clash with Melbourne at the SCG on March 7 and will meet specialists again on Friday to determine a return-to-play timeline.


Tom Papley and Chad Warner (rested) were also on the sidelines with defender Jake Lloyd (hip soreness).

Lions young gun Devon Robertson could make a return when Brisbane host Carlton on March 8 after overcoming a wrist injury, while Tom Doedee remains out of action with an ACL injury.


Suns not panicking despite pre-season thrashing

Adam Kingsley has secured early bragging rights over former coaching mentor Damien Hardwick, with his GWS side grabbing a pre-season win over the Gold Coast Suns in Canberra.

In Hardwick’s final rehearsal before officially resuming his AFL coaching tenure, alarm bells were ringing when the Suns fell 65 points behind in the third term on Thursday, before rallying late to reduce the deficit to 44 in the 15.15 (105) to 9.7 (61) loss.

Kingsley, who coached under Hardwick at Richmond for four years, saw his side dominate clearances and contested possession on Thursday, while producing their trademark transition football to slice up the Suns.


It wasn’t the encouraging performance the Suns would have been hoping for, at one stage conceding 11 unanswered goals as GWS ran rampant.

“We understand it’s going to be a process and a journey for us, we’re certainly not the finished product right here, right now,” Suns assistant coach Shaun Grigg said post-game.

“It was just about implementing some of the things we’ve been working on in the summer and at stages we did see that.

“For the players to get a good understanding of what that looks like and what that feels like out on the field has been really good in the first couple of practice matches.

“We feel like there’s some glimpses there of what we want to achieve.”

The Suns were warming up for their March 9 season opener against Richmond, where Hardwick will battle his former side.


GWS take on Collingwood later that day in a preliminary final rematch, and the Giants will be confident they can avenge that defeat after running rings around the Suns at Manuka Oval.

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Midfield bull Tom Green looked as powerful as ever, racking up 30 touches, eight clearances and a goal.

Winger Xavier O’Halloran (25 disposals) carved up the Suns through the middle of the ground.

This allowed their forwards to cash in, captain Toby Greene looking in mid-season form with three goals as a constant threat up front.

GWS assistant coach Ben Hart said the display was “pretty strong” and an improvement on the previous week’s hit-out against Sydney.


“Pre-season games are always interesting because sometimes they’re ready to rock and roll and sometimes they’re not quite there,” he said.

“Last week was a little bit of a wake up call for us and as we know the season comes around really quickly.

“In nine days time we’re playing, so we were really comfortable with what we saw tonight.”

Effort appeared lacking at times for the Suns, who hit the front early when silky forward Jack Lukosius slotted three straight first-quarter goals.

What followed was a 76-3 onslaught during which they looked entirely uncompetitive, perhaps reminding Hardwick of the size of the job in front of him at the Gold Coast.

Hardwick’s troops did rally late and booted five straight goals in the second half when the Giants rested some of their key cogs.

It was a night to forget for Suns key forward Ben King.


After signing a two-year contract extension last week, King failed to register a disposal until 30 seconds before halftime. He finished the match with a miserly four touches to go with a solitary behind.