Fit-again Swan set for battle with Grundy

Sydney's Callum Sinclair has been tasked with battling Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy.
Sydney's Callum Sinclair has been tasked with battling Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy.

Sydney ruckman Callum Sinclair is ready for arguably his most imposing challenge this AFL season, having felt helpless watching on as his injury-depleted side were demolished by Nic Naitanui.

Sinclair's ruck duel with Collingwood superstar Brodie Grundy will be pivotal as the Swans seek to cause an upset at the Gabba on Thursday night.

Sydney's big man, who returned from a hyper-extended knee in round seven, has been one of their most important players during an injury crisis that has depleted key-position stocks.

Luckless ruckman Sam Naismith is out for the season while Michael Knoll and Joel Amartey have also been unavailable.

The undersized and inexperienced Swans' woes hit a nadir during their round-five loss to West Coast when defender Aliir Aliir was pitched into a ruck battle with Naitanui.

"You sort of felt a bit helpless sitting at home and watching the games; particularly given the situation we were in, struggling for key-position players," Sinclair said.

"But the last few weeks have been positive in that regard, we're slowly introducing a few players back in the side ... and hopefully we've got a few more who aren't too far away."

Reigning All-Australian ruckman Grundy has collected five Brownlow votes from his previous two showdowns with Sinclair.

"He's extremely mobile. He follows up really well and so often gives his midfielders first use," Sinclair said.

"He's just a great player."

Swans coach John Longmire had a chance to work with Grundy at the start of this season, when he coached the South Australian star as part of the bushfire relief charity game.

"Callum comes up against another elite ruckman this week ... Brodie's a professional. Just a great athlete and real competitor," Longmire said.

"If they win clearances they generally go pretty well. It's an important area to at least break even in."

Sinclair, whose side may not return to Sydney this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, feels fully fit and fortunate to have recovered from his setback at home.

The Swans have taken injured guns Lance Franklin and Josh Kennedy, who both have young families, into their hub.

Naismith is also travelling with the squad as he recovers from a knee reconstruction.

Australian Associated Press