Sydney is unlikely to make Richmond’s final-round push for a top-eight spot any easier by resting players ahead of the club’s guaranteed first-week final.
The Swans subbed Kurt Tippett out of Sunday’s match early in the last quarter once the win was secure, and withdrew Sam Reid from the side due to a minor hip problem that he is expected to return from next week.
Rhyce Shaw, Nick Smith and Tom Mitchell returned from various injury problems against the Dogs, with Josh Kennedy (hamstring), Ben McGlynn (calf) and Craig Bird (knee) close to rejoining the side.
Sydney’s 63-point win means the Swans are certain to finish in the top two and likely to hold onto top spot even should they lose to the Tigers at ANZ Stadium next week, given their big percentage. Richmond must win to have any chance of holding its spot in the eight.
Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett combined for 10 goals in the win over the Dogs, with Franklin’s six goals taking him to 67 on the Coleman Medal tally, nine ahead of ex-Hawthorn teammate Jarryd Roughead with just one game to go.
Longmire said he would have trouble telling any of his players they would be rested against the Tigers, even if he wanted to give any of them a break.
He said Kennedy and Reid were both strong chances to play against the Tigers, and that McGlynn had begun running and was feeling good, with Bird slightly less likely to play.
“I’d expect we’ll play our players who are fit and ready to go. There were injury concerns this week, and those blokes didn’t play,” Longmire said.
“It’s pretty simple. We just look at the facts and if there are sore players we don’t play them.
“I don’t think many teams rest players. I don’t think it happens too often. It’s more that we want to make sure we continue to play well.
“If players are sore, we’d have to be silly to risk them. That’s the decision we’ll make during the week. If they’re sore, they won’t play, but if they’re ready to go and they’re feeling good, players like to play.
“Even Josh Kennedy this week was champing at the bit, and did some running today up there and he was really disappointed he wasn’t playing, I had to grab him by the arm and say ‘mate, you’re not playing this week’.
“They’re competitors. They want to play, they want to keep going, they want to continue to be in good touch and good form. That’s the other consideration to take into it as well.”
The Bulldogs will farewell Daniel Giansiracusa in next week’s final round match against Greater Western Sydney, with the 264-game forward to move into a coaching role at the club next season.
Ruckman Tom Campbell was subbed out of the game during the first half, after he was hit in the head. He suffered an eye injury at the same time, but is expected to be able to play again next week.
McCartney praised the Swans’ ability to make the most of the pressure they were able to apply to his side.
“They hurt. That’s what they did today and we had a good chat about it. They were onto us around the contest and away from the contest and certainly pressuring our defenders taking the ball out, but that’s footy,” he said.
“That’s what the good teams do. We’ve been beaten up a bit by three really strong clubs in the last month, all going into a pretty optimistic finals campaign I would have thought.
“Hawthorn, Sydney and North Melbourne – in all those three games there’s been three 12-15 minute patches where the scoreboard got away on us.”
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