Huge blow for Swans as Heeney struck down

AFL: Lance Franklin has starred for the Swans in their win over GWS.

Isaac Heeney is likely to miss the start of the AFL season

THE Sydney Swans’ Round 1 team will look a lot different to the one that lost last year’s Grand Final to the Western Bulldogs with young gun Isaac Heeney the latest casualty after being diagnosed with glandular fever.

Heeney missed last Friday night’s win over the GWS ­Giants at Blacktown with a virus and was diagnosed with the illness on Monday.

He has been ruled out of the Swans’ opening game against Port ­Adelaide at the SCG.

“You can’t do anything with glandular fever other than rest,” Swans coach John Longmire told The Daily Telegraph.

“He knows what it is and in that respect it puts his mind at ease because he knows the only thing he can do it take it easy.

“It’s hard to say when he will be back, every case is different, he’s been told to rest this week and see how he responds to some exercise next week.

“We will wait and see how he responds but we are certainly in no hurry to push him.”

Isaac Heeney is the latest Swan to be sidelined. Picture: Getty Images

Isaac Heeney is the latest Swan to be sidelined. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The injury and illness list is starting to become worrying for the Swans, having already lost former co-captain Jarrad McVeigh (calf), Tom Papley (Knee) and Gary Rohan (back) for the round-one match against Port Adelaide at the SCG.

Added to the off-season departures of Tom Mitchell and Xavier Richards, Sydney will see at least six different faces for the match. Sam Reid continues to progress well this pre-season and looks a certainty to be included if he stays healthy.

Aliir Aliir is yet to play in the JLT Community Series and looks unlikely to be fit for ­Sunday’s match against St Kilda in Albury after off-­season knee surgery.

If Aliir doesn’t come up rookie list player Lewis Melican could be in for a debut against Port along with ruckman Darcy Cameron and rookie draftee Robbie Fox.

The gun forward/midfielder, who played no part in Friday’s JLT victory over GWS due to illness, is now confirmed to have contracted glandular fever.

“Clearly this is disappointing news for us and for Isaac as he has had a terrific pre-season to date,” Swans Head of Football Harley said in a statement on the club’s website.

“However, Isaac is receiving the care and rest he needs so we’re confident he will return to play early in the season and I’ve no doubt he will make a solid contribution when he returns.”

Harley was unable to put a date on Heeney’s return.

More to follow.

Originally published as Heeney illness a blow for Swans