Aussie Rules

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Swans mull AFL midfield role for Mills

Sydney will mull whether to throw caution to the wind by moving Callum Mills into the middle for Saturday's AFL clash with West Coast.

Young gun Mills gave the lifeless Swans a spark in their loss to the Western Bulldogs last week, notching 12 second-half disposals after being plugged into the centre.

The versatile 23-year-old has played the majority of his 81-game career in defence, including 2016 when he won the Rising Star award.

But last Thursday's showing may give coach John Longmire food for thought to unleash Mills into the middle from the first bounce, as Sydney seeks to match the Eagles elite on-ballers.

"The challenge is when you're looking at the team, who replaces him down back?" he told reporters on Tuesday.

"He's a very good defender and he can be a very good midfielder, I'm sure of it.

"But when you're looking at the balance of the team ... you have got to replace him with a player that can do the same thing for him in that previous role."

Key tall Tom McCartin (concussion) looms as the likely replacement for Sam Naismith after the luckless ruckman suffered another devastating ACL tear.

But Naismith's coach is confident it won't be his last appearance at AFL level.

"He's OK. It's probably sinking in now that it's another rehab in front of him," Longmire said.

"I've had two knee reconstructions myself. There is life after a couple of knee reconstructions.

"You've just got to be able to embrace the challenge ahead and get on with it, knowing full well that it will take a little time to digest."

The season-ending injury leaves Callum Sinclair as the Swans sole recognised ruckman, and Longmire admits he'll have his work cut out for him at Metricon Stadium duelling with Nic Naitanui.

Forward Sam Reid (calf) also continues to inch closer to returning, training among one of Sydney's small groups on Tuesday.

"He's probably still a few weeks away," Longmire said.

"We've just got to be mindful of those guys that have an injury record.

"We just need to make sure he gets the miles in his legs to make him resilient enough not to get injured again."

--End of article--

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