Giants, Swans to welcome back stars for Sydney derby

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BOTH the Swans and the Giants could be boosted by returning stars for Saturday night’s crucial Sydney derby at Spotless Stadium.

Sydney captain Josh Kennedy (quad) is likely to be fit after being a late withdrawal from his team’s big win over Gold Coast on Saturday, while GWS trio Toby Greene (ankle), Steve Johnson (knee) and Zac Williams (hamstring) could also be included for the 13th edition of the crosstown rivalry.

Kennedy said he was yet to decide what his training program would look like for this week but didn’t expect to have any more problems with his quad tightness.

“It’s pretty good, I was close to playing on Saturday so I’m pretty confident of coming up this week,” he said.

“The fear of doing a bit more damage (kept me out) so we took the conservative approach and hopefully that holds me in good stead for Saturday.

“We’ll probably assess it on Tuesday but I’ll definitely train on Thursday.

The Giants will be sweating on the availability of club champion Greene, who has missed the past two matches with an ankle issue that has lingered longer than expected.

Coach Leon Cameron expects Greene, along with Johnson and Williams, to be on the track for his side’s most important session on Wednesday.

“Are we confident of that happening? I think we are, but I was confident Toby would be right last week and it didn’t happen,” he said.

“Steve is (an) interesting (case) because that knee injury has been there for most of the year, but if he doesn’t train on Wednesday he’s not going to play, so he needs to get through that.

“Zac looks like he’s recovered pretty well, but like we’ve done for most of the year, if they’re not right they don’t play.

“Hopefully you’d think that at least two of those three would come back.”

The Giants won the first clash between the sides this year when they beat the Swans by 42 points in round five at the SCG, but since then it’s John Longmire’s men who have been in better form.

Sydney has won eight of the past 10 games since the round five derby to be in the eight for the first time this season, while GWS is second on the ladder, but has won six, lost two and, incredibly, drawn their past two matches.

Cameron said despite last year’s grand finalists beginning 2017 with six consecutive defeats, he’d never written off the Swans.

“I think if everyone was honest in their appraisal, and John (Longmire) would have led that at the Swans, that their start to the year was surprising, and they didn’t shy away from it,” he said.

“They got down to work and the last two months has been typical (of the Swans), it’s what they do.

“They get to work every week, play every quarter like it’s their last, and they play a good brand of footy.

“There’s no reason to think that they can’t continue on with that and this season is so unique, because any team can beat anyone else if you’re off a little bit.

“I’m pretty sure that both teams are not going to be off this week, there’s a rivalry there for a reason, and we’ve got to find our best more consistently because if we don’t they’ll win the game.”