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Opposition Watch: Round 5

GIANTS Media  April 19, 2017 3:02 PM

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Kurt Tippett looks set to return to the Swans side and take on Shane Mumford and the GIANTS on Saturday night.

The competition is so close just look at the results over the past weeks, it’s just so important for both teams.

As the GIANTS get set to head across town for Sydney Derby XII, we take a look at everything that’s been making news in the Harbour City this week.

The big news out of the Swans camp is the possible return of up to four experienced players for the big clash with the GIANTS.

It would be welcome news for the winless Swans, who have started their season with four straight losses for the first time since 1975.

The Swans trained at the SCG on Tuesday afternoon and Kurt Tippett (ankle), Jarrad McVeigh (calf), Isaac Heeney (glandular fever) and Gary Rohan (back/hamstring) were all part of the main group and looked to have no issues during the hour-long session.

Tippett missed last week's loss to West Coast in Perth after being injured in round three, while the other trio haven't played a game this year, with McVeigh and Rohan in particular having extremely interrupted pre-season campaigns.

Longmire dismissed any doubt over the availability of superstar forward Lance Franklin, who sat out the session with a corked hip and thigh, and said having to think long and hard about the selection dilemma regarding his four senior players, and their lack of footy, is a good headache to have.

"It's obviously a consideration, but it's great having the players available, and we got Tommy Papley back last week," Longmire said.

"(Kurt) Tippett hasn't missed a lot of football and did a big pre-season so he's probably in pretty good shape fitness-wise.

"The others have been training for the last few weeks and training well, but we'll make that decision after getting some more knowledge after training and seeing how they pull up, and make the call.

"Whether they all play or not we're not quite sure, but we'll address each individual case as we see fit, and each of those have got different backgrounds.”

Swans Head of Football Tom Harley indicated in the club’s weekly injury update that Tippett was a certainty to play, while the other three names would push for selection.

One name who won’t be there is ruckman Sam Naismith, who will miss Sydney Derby XII after injuring his knee at training. His unavailability makes Tippett’s inclusion all the more important.

The Swans’ coach and vice-captain Luke Parker spoke to the media on Tuesday alongside GIANTS co-captain Callan Ward and coach Leon Cameron, who said he hasn't spoken to his players about their approach to the game, but said he expected that same level of intensity to be there this weekend.

"It doesn't matter if we play at Spotless (Stadium), or ANZ (Stadium), or at the SCG, it's always a physical game against the Swans," Cameron said.

"We've worked on our contested ball over the past two years because we weren't up to scratch and we knew that, and we're still working on that.

"It's been a pretty good three weeks for us but only a month ago we were smacked by the Crows.

“It's a ruthless competition and if we're not right on Saturday the Swans will carve us up.”

This week the Daily Telegraph also spoke to former Swans and GIANTS greats about the cross-town rivalry.

Swans dual premiership great Jude Bolton said he can sense the AFL tide is turning in Sydney.

“The GIANTS will certainly look at this as a chance to get right on top of the Swans,” Bolton said.

“It is a true rivalry now because it doesn’t matter where they are on the ladder, these games are big now.”

Former GIANTS coach Kevin Sheedy said he always knew the Derby would turn into one of Sydney’s biggest events on the sporting calendar.

But unlike the early days when the inaugural GIANTS coach also had to play the role of salesman and spruik a rivalry that existed only on paper, Sheedy is anticipating Saturday night’s clash will produce something special.

“This match is going to be like a final,” Sheedy said. “The competition is so close just look at the results over the past weeks, it’s just so important for both teams.

“It’s a final already and don’t think it’s not.”

The GIANTS take on the Swans at the SCG on Saturday night, click here to buy tickets. Please note this is a Swans home game with GIANTS members needing to purchase a ticket for access to this match.