McVeigh Battling To Be Fit For Round 1

Sydney veteran in doubt

McVeigh Battling To Be Fit For Round 1 Getty Images

Sydney stalwart Jarrad McVeigh is battling to avoid the unusual and unwanted distinction of missing his club's first game of the season for a fourth successive year. 

The oldest and longest-serving player on the Sydney list, McVeigh chalked up his 300th appearance in the Swans' last match of 2017, their semi-final loss to Geelong.

Sydney announced just before the finals that 32-year-old McVeigh had signed a one-year contract extension, taking him into a 16th season.

McVeigh missed the first six rounds of 2017 with a calf issue.

The year before he didn't appear until round four due to a knee problem and in 2015 a calf injury meant his season started in round two.

McVeigh and midfielder Dan Hannebery, who has had off-season groin and calf problems, are battling to be fit for the Swans' season opener away to West Coast on March 25. 

McVeigh has some calf soreness and won't play in Saturday's pre-season game against the Brisbane Lions. 

"You'd expect Hannebery and McVeigh would have question marks over them for that round one but we'll see how the next few weeks go," Swans coach John Longmire said.

Long-time midfielder McVeigh's poise and slick ball use out of defence proved an important part of Sydney's resurgence last year after they started 0-6.

Key defender Heath Grundy, the other veteran coming back from injury, has been training for the past two weeks after a calf issue, and could be back for their second practice match next week against Greater Western Sydney. 

Isaac Heeney, Will Hayward and Callum Mills are set to have their first pre-season hit-out in Saturday's game.

AAP

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