AFL: Swans coach John Longmire has some decisions to make ahead his sides’ blockbuster clash against the Western Bulldogs this weekend with a number of key players returning from injury
AS uncertainty continues to surround veteran star Ted Richards, Aliir Aliir says he’s ready to go to the next level as a full-time force in the AFL.
After being nursed slowly back to full health following ongoing concussion issues, Richards is a strong chance to return to the Swans line-up on Saturday against the Western Bulldogs.
However, there is reason to believe this could be 33-year-old Richards’ last year in the AFL.
Aliir denied he has his eye specifically on ultimately taking over Richards’ key defensive position in the future, but the fact is that could be the next big opportunity to present itself in the Swans’ line-up.
The 21-year-old wants to be viewed by John Longmire as a utility but says after two AFL games, he believes his coach can now rely on him as a regular if needs be in the starting side.
“If I do get a call up I’m ready to go,” said Aliir, who will find out later in the week if he’ll retain his place to take on the Bulldogs.
“I’m a utility player so whatever the coach wants me to play or where they want me to develop in I’ll embrace that position and work hard to make it there.
“My mindset is going into training and improving and going to games and trying to be consistent and trying to do my role for the team. That’s what I’m going to be doing for the rest of the year and just taking it week by week.”
Although the Swans will continue to miss No.1 ruckman Kurt Tippett for the next couple of months, Longmire is confident elsewhere on the park he is starting to get options.
Richards and Jeremy Laidler are back in the frame to face the Bulldogs and youngster Tom Papley will be in the frame for the following round.
Longmire says the Bulldogs’ lack of size up front will influence the way he selects his side – wary of the gritty side’s ability around contested ball.
AFL: The Sydney Swans are currently enjoying their bye round, and they’ll come back after the break having had more than just a freshen up. and as the special one continued his trip around Sydney, The Swans also got amongst it.
Aliir, who debuted earlier in the season and excelled in his second match the week before last against Melbourne, said he hasn’t dropped his head going in and out of the team.
“This whole year has just been real consistent with my footy,” he said.
“That earned me a debut and I felt I went in determined and did my role. I didn’t want to drop my head when I got dropped. I went back to the twos and just tried to focus on trying to work my way back.
“I’ve had a taste of senior footy and once you’ve had that taste you want more. I went back to the twos and tried to dominate there so I could earn my spot back there and I was able to.”