Swans hopeful Taylor Adams will be fit for AFL opener

Joanna Guelas |

Brisbane’s Lachie Neale (right) was one of his side’s best in the pre-season win over Sydney.
Brisbane’s Lachie Neale (right) was one of his side’s best in the pre-season win over Sydney.

Sydney are confident recruit Taylor Adams will be match-fit for an opening-round debut after sustaining a knee injury during the Swans’ 25-point pre-season loss to Brisbane.

Adams had impressed in his first hit-out in the red and white on Thursday, before a tackle from Brisbane’s Cam Rayner sent him to ground in the third quarter at Blacktown International Sportspark.

The former Collingwood player immediately grabbed his left knee and was ruled out of the rest of the AFL community series match with a mild medial ligament strain.

Taylor Adams
Sydney recruit Taylor Adams suffered a knee injury during the Swans’ pre-season loss to Brisbane. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

The Swans went on to suffer an 8.8 (56) to 12.9 (81) loss to the Lions in their final dress rehearsal before the season opener.

Sydney assistant coach Jarrad McVeigh was optimistic Adams would not be out of action.

“He got a knock to his knee so we played that conservatively,” McVeigh said after the game.

“He’s still clearly a chance for next week.”

Already pushed back due to sweltering weather conditions, the match was delayed another 30 minutes after the western Sydney venue, perhaps taking a leaf out of the Gabba’s book, was plunged into darkness by a power outage.

The Lions showed no signs of a hangover from last year’s grand final loss to Collingwood.

With the Lions near full strength, it was Brisbane’s usual stars – Dayne Zorko (two goals, 20 disposals), Lachie Neale (22 disposals, eight clearances), Keidean Coleman (19 disposals) and Hugh McCluggage (31) – who fired the visitors to dominance.

A scare ran through the Lions camp when Neale, in his first hit-out following off-season groin surgery, appeared in pain after young Swan Angus Sheldrick blew into the Brownlow Medallist’s shoulder in the second term.

Neale nursed the injury and was able to play the rest of the game.

Zorko stole the show early. The veteran midfielder, entering his 13th season still chasing an elusive premiership, flashed the same grit as his 23-year-old debutant self with a classy goal in the opening 30 seconds.

Brisbane had no shortage of firepower with eight different goalkickers, as Lincoln McCarthy kicked three goals and Eric Hipwood two.

Though all eyes were on Adams in his unofficial Swans debut, it was former Demon James Jordon who played the best out of the new recruits.

The 22-year-old had 31 disposals and four clearances, numbers rivalling those of powerhouse midfielder Errol Gulden (24 disposals, two clearances, one goal).

Earlier, Adams showed his class and racked up 15 touches and seven clearances before he was injured.

Adams’ former Collingwood teammate Brodie Grundy (27 hitouts) again starred in the ruck.

John Longmire’s men were without star midfielder Luke Parker after the former skipper broke his arm during the last quarter of their practice match against GWS.

The 2016 All-Australian joins captain Callum Mills on the sidelines for the opening-round clash with Melbourne at the SCG on March 7 and will meet specialists again on Friday to determine a return-to-play timeline.

Tom Papley and Chad Warner (rested) were also on the sidelines with defender Jake Lloyd (hip soreness).

Lions young gun Devon Robertson could make a return when Brisbane host Carlton on March 8 after overcoming a wrist injury, while Tom Doedee remains out of action with an ACL injury.