Sports

Concerns for gun Swan Tom Papley, Giants stars step up in Toby Greene’s absence

SYDNEY star Tom Papley is in doubt for round one of the AFL season after hurting his hamstring in the Swans’ 31-point practice match loss to Greater Western Sydney in Albury.

The Therabody AFL All-Australian small forward set up teammate Luke Parker for the first goal of Friday’s game but headed to the bench minutes later and didn’t return for the remainder of the six-term match on Friday at Lavington Sports Ground.

“We are taking a precautionary approach and he will be assessed in the next few days,” the Swans posted on their official Twitter account.

Sydney’s Luke Parker in action during a practice match against GWS on February 25, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The Giants were the stronger team throughout the evening, leading at every change before ultimately running out 18.18 (126) to 13.17 (95) winners.

Both teams fielded strong squads, although most first-choice stars were replaced by younger players for the fifth and sixth periods.

The match reverted to 16-a-side in the fifth term and 12-a-side for the final part of the match.

Stephen Coniglio and Tim Taranto were prolific through the middle for the Giants, while Lachie Whitfield’s kicking from half-back helped his side move the ball quickly.

GWS’ Stephen Coniglio in action during a practice match against Sydney on February 25, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Forwards Bobby Hill, Jesse Hogan, Harry Himmelberg and Jake Riccardi stepped up in co-captain Toby Greene’s absence, all kicking multiple goals.

Riccardi was particularly impressive, with his strong marking and three goals a highlight.

Former West Coast player Jarrod Brander also showed promise, kicking five goals in his first outing as a Giants player, albeit some against weaker opposition after coming on in the third period.

Isaac Heeney’s class and strength around stoppages stood out for the Swans, with the 25-year-old poised to take on a permanent midfield role this season.

Third-year player Chad Warner was among Sydney’s best, winning plenty of the ball and using it well.

Sydney champion Lance Franklin was quiet, with his only goal coming after the three quarter-time siren.

Sydney’s Lance Franklin directs traffic in.a practice match against GWS on February 25, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Veteran GWS defender Phil Davis shut Franklin out well, winning a number of one-on-one contests and limiting the star forward’s impact.

The duo are likely to go head-to-head ahead in the opening round of the AFL campaign, with Franklin needing just five goals to reach 1000 for his career.

(Scores after the fourth quarter)
SYDNEY                        2.3    4.6    6.12    9.14 (68)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY    4.2    7.7    10.10    12.12 (84)

GOALS
Sydney: Ladhams 2, McLean 2, Parker, Gulden, Hayward, Franklin, Florent
GWS: Riccardi 3, Hogan 2, Himmelberg 2, Hill 2, Green, Brander, Stone

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