Senior coach John Longmire was reduced to something of an onlooker, unable to get his hands dirty as he watched on from a safe distance as a chunk of his playing group went through their paces together, having slogged through individual programs in isolation since the AFL campaign was abruptly halted in March.
“It’s a step towards normality, but we’re still not there,” Longmire said.
“I’m sort of up and down the middle and I still can’t go to either group. That’s a little bit different. And the connection amongst your players, you’re doing it from a distance still.
“It’s still an excitement level amongst the players to be able to get back and have a kick amongst each other. Even though it’s only a few of them, it’s still an important start.”
Greater Western Sydney also had a small group of players training at their Olympic Park base, with both clubs planning to cycle through their lists throughout the day – in the Swans’ case, at different venues as well.
Franklin, 33, has remained in Sydney throughout lockdown and has trained consistently, although Longmire suggested expectations around all players had to be managed.
“Conditioning-wise, he’s fine. It’s just a matter of what the next build-up looks like. We’ve only got three weeks to get these guys in shape before they play,” Longmire said.
“There’s all these stages we’ll need to be mindful of and we’ll have to monitor them very closely because it’s an unusual build-up. We understand that and we need to make sure that we don’t put them at risk.
“Probably the whole three weeks is about conditioning them so they don’t get injured, or preventing that as much as we can.”
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.