Swans to battle injuries as Ballina lines up to bomb them

LOCAL Aussie Rules action heads to Lismore today with the Ballina Bombers travelling to tackle bitter rivals the Swans at Mortimer Oval.

The Swans were too strong for the Bombers last month then gallant in defeat against competition pacesetters Byron Magpies but are struggling with injuries and are coming off a thumping from the Tweed Tigers last Saturday.

Such is the injury toll that coach Phil Tsourlinis may have to pull on the boots.

But Tsourlinis isn't conceding anything.

"We have a reserves side most weeks and it gives them the chance to grab a regular first team game," he said.

"Just as importantly it gives some regulars the chance to become match-winners."

He named Michael Brown, Shaun King, Taylor Alexander and John Lawson as likely key Swans this afternoon.

"We have enough experience, including former Demon Anton Eldridge, and hopefully Simon Howard will be back after missing last week due to the birth of his child," Tsourlinis said.

The Bombers had a comfortable win over Robina and last week gave Byron a real fright until deep into the fourth quarter.

Coach Steve Huckerby believes his team must win this game to put a small gap between them and the fourth-placed Swans on the ladder.

The Bombers have two tough games coming up against the Tweed Tigers, while the Swans take on Robina twice, so the ladder could change quickly.

They play the same teams twice because the long weekend is a catch-up game for the May 8 washed-out round.

Key Bomber Doug North strained a calf muscle last week but is likely to play.

In the same game Jake Hayes began to play some of his best football after returning from injury and former coach Jesse Leeds was dynamic for the Bombers.

If that mid-field can feed big target Tim Price and the crumbing Pat Bulzomi, the Swans' defence will be tested.

It's a tough game to pick but the Swans at home should be favoured.

First bounce is at 2pm.

Last night the Byron Magpies were expected to continue their dominance when they travelled to Robina.

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