Swans ponder Melican return as Lions talls loom
SYDNEY is considering rushing star defender Lewis Melican straight back into the AFL as they look to combat Brisbane's towering forward line.
Melican has missed six straight weeks of football with a hamstring injury, and suffered a setback midway through his recovery which extended his time on the sidelines.
But despite the length of time Melican has spent out, the Swans are giving serious thought to bypassing the safety-first option of returning him through the NEAFL, with a final decision to be made after the club's final training session on Thursday.
The Swans are obviously cautious of overstretching Melican if he's not 100 per cent right.
But coach John Longmire is equally wary of a plucky Lions side who finally received reward for weeks of hard-work by thumping Hawthorn last weekend.
Brisbane's tall forward line featuring Daniel McStay, Eric Hipwood and Hugh McCluggage presents some match-up challenges for Longmire - and Melican standing at 195cm shapes as the perfect defensive antidote to the Lions power base.
"Absolutely (that match-up is a factor). Brisbane's played exceptionally well against the Hawks last Sunday … they've got some potent options," Swans' head of football Tom Harley said.
"They can genuinely go tall. So absolutely it comes into consideration and as a club you need to weigh up the short-term needs of playing against a side with a tall forward line against what is best for Lewis given he's had some time out."
The Swans are disregarding the fact Brisbane have won only one game for the season, focusing more on the fact the Lions have only been blown out of the water in one match.
Whether it's this week or the following round, Sydney believe their momentum will only accelerate when Melican is back in the AFL.
"He's become a really important player. He's now four years into his career. He's a born and bred defender," Harley said.
"He's played in the backline all his life and he loves it and we're really pleased with the way he developed last year.
"He's got a long way still to go but he's got the right attitude towards the game."
Meanwhile, the Swans have reported that Sam Reid continues to track well in his recovery and is due back by round 15.
Alex Johnson is also nearing a return to the NEAFL after his injury dramas and Jordan Dawson is also close to making a comeback.