Sydney wrap arms around axed McDonald

·3-min read

Sydney have backed unlucky forward Logan McDonald to bounce back from his axing for the Swans' AFL grand final.

McDonald, who has played 17 games this season, including two finals, was brutally dropped for Saturday's decider against Geelong at the MCG.

The former No.4 draft pick has made way for fellow tall Hayden McLean, who played the first eight games of the season but has been in the VFL since.

Sydney coach John Longmire admitted leaving McDonald out was a difficult call to make.

Longmire missed North Melbourne's 1996 grand final win due to a serious knee injury.

"I've been on the other side of that conversation as a player, it's not an easy thing to do," Longmire told reporters on Friday.

"He's a terrific young player with a great future ahead of him.

"We've made the decision because we thought that was the best line-up for tomorrow.

"Very tough for him but he's a great kid and he'll bounce back bigger and better."

Star forward Tom Papley also felt for McDonald, who joined the Swans for Friday's grand final parade.

"I'm pretty close with him," Papley said.

"He's a young kid and it's unfortunate for him but his attitude towards this week has been great.

"There's always one story in a grand final and he was one of them. It's tough for him, but I'm sure this will make him bigger and better."

McDonald remains an outside chance to be a late inclusion for the Swans' first grand final since 2016, with veteran tall Sam Reid battling an adductor injury suffered in last week's thrilling preliminary final win against Collingwood.

However, Reid was named on Thursday night and the Swans 2012 premiership player is expected to play despite barely taking part in Friday's captain's run at the MCG.

"We felt when we subbed him last week we didn't push him too hard during the course of the game, so that was the first step," Longmire said of Reid.

"He got some scans on Monday and that was really encouraging, so we were confident from that point. He did some training on Thursday and did exactly what he needed to do."

Dashing wingman Justin McInerney had been considered in some doubt to play after an ankle injury against the Magpies.

"Our medical staff have been terrific, we were always confident that he'd be right," Longmire said.

"He finished off the game strongly last week so he's right to go."

Sydney big man Tom Hickey expects McLean to partner him in the ruck, with Reid to play mostly up forward.

"(McLean's) been playing some really good footy through the back half of this year, probably a bit stiff because the side was so settled, but (I'm) so confident in him to come and take his opportunity," Hickey said.

"He's a bigger body who can come in there and they (McLean and Reid) might share it as the game goes on.

"But I'm off the field then, so it doesn't bother me."

Hickey will take the first bounce of the grand final against Geelong's Rhys Stanley, a former teammate and good friend at St Kilda.

"I've been at six other teams since then," Hickey joked.