AFL 2022: Swans revolving door rucks as Tom Hickey back for Peter Ladhams Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content

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By Malcolm Conn

The Swans’ unsettling ruck rotation has taken another turn, with Tom Hickey back from his injury to replace the suspended Peter Ladhams for Saturday night’s finals-shaping clash against St Kilda at the SCG.

In an ideal world, the Swans would prefer Hickey and Ladhams to take on the might of St Kilda’s rucks in a clash which is likely to see the loser tipped out of the final eight.

Tom Hickey, left, and Peter Ladhams at Swans training on Wednesday.

Tom Hickey, left, and Peter Ladhams at Swans training on Wednesday.Credit:Phil Hillyard

The Swans also lost defender Colin O’Riordan with a groin injury and dropped forward Sam Wicks, recalling defenders Ryan Clarke and Braeden Campbell. Clarke will play his first game of the season after twice being an unused medical sub.

The Swans and Saints both lost last weekend, leaving them hanging precariously in the top half of the ladder on percentage.

Ladhams’ ill-advised punch to the body of his former Port Adelaide teammate Ollie Wines during last Saturday’s loss cost the ruckman a week on the sidelines, and the chance for the Swans to double-team St Kilda’s impressive ruck duo of Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall.

Instead an underdone Hickey will be forced to do the lion’s share of the bullocking work against one of his former clubs. Hickey has played just five senior games this year because of knee and toe injuries and the Swans had been mulling over whether to play him for a second successive match in the reserves, until Ladhams’ managed to rule himself out.

Sam Reid will pinch hit in the ruck for the Swans with Tom Hickey

Sam Reid will pinch hit in the ruck for the Swans with Tom HickeyCredit:Getty Images

Half-forward Will Hayward said Hickey had got through training and there were “no concerns.”

“He’s been around for a long time, he’s experienced, he’s got complete trust from everybody that he can come in and play a role,” Hayward said. “He had an amazing year for us last year.”

Veteran Sam Reid has played some useful games this season as a pinch hitter in the ruck, but he’s essentially a key position player. His biggest impact has been in the Swans’ two previous victories, kicking three goals against both Richmond and Melbourne. Hayward acknowledged how much was riding on Saturday night’s clash.

“It’s a massive game. There’s no hiding behind that,” he said. “It’s seventh v eighth, it’s a big game. We’re really strapping in and getting ready for it and ready for a big crowd here to get some energy going and get the job done.

Will Hayward on Saturday night’s clash against St Kilda: “It’s a massive game. There’s no hiding behind that.”

Will Hayward on Saturday night’s clash against St Kilda: “It’s a massive game. There’s no hiding behind that.”Credit:Getty

“There’s obviously a lot on the line. We’re stepping into it, we’re looking forward to it, we’re embracing it.”

The Swans have managed some impressive victories this season but they have also had some costly hiccups, most recently against Port Adelaide in Adelaide last Saturday.

“A lot of our key areas that we usually pride ourselves on, our pressure, our contested footy, they’re things we need to do for four quarters, we fluctuated a bit last week.”

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