Buddy in doubt for Hawks clash
SYDNEY have conceded superstar forward Lance Franklin is under an injury cloud for Saturday night's blockbuster against his former club Hawthorn.
Reports emerged on Monday night that Franklin had pulled up sore from the weekend and will be racing the clock to take his place in the playoff for a top four spot against the Hawks at the SCG.
Franklin is in doubt due to a groin complaint after leaving the field in the final minutes of the Swans' win over GWS on Saturday.
Sydney football boss Tom Harley said Franklin would be given every chance to prove his fitness for the crucial clash that could dictate the Swans' finals destiny.
"He's a little bit sore. He will be given every chance and has shown he can get through," Harley said.
Franklin has barely trained all year due to an ongoing foot issue and is expected to be on light duties for the Swans' session on Tuesday if he participates at all.
Meanwhile, firebrand Zak Jones admits he needs to tone down his on-field aggression to ensure he doesn't leave his Sydney Swans teammates stranded this finals series.
Jones was suspended for two matches last month after being booked for two separate incidents in the one game against Essendon - continuing the 23-year-old's regrettable on-field disciplinary record.
The star defender is now walking a dangerous tightrope with the AFL Tribunal and even the most minor slip-up could cost him and the Swans dearly.
There's a top four position on the line when the Swans face archrivals Hawthorn at the SCG in a blockbuster this Saturday night, and the enormity of the occasion will be yet another key test of Jones' powers of self-control.
It was in the pressure-cooker of the clash against Essendon on a Friday night in Melbourne where all Jones' hard-work came undone, and the heat will be cranked up again against the Hawks.
Jones is a player who likes to play on the edge, but as uncomfortable as it's for him to accept, the talented enforcer concedes he must tweak his approach.
"I do definitely need to tone it down in my decisions, but at the same time I'm not going to be too focused on those instances," Jones told The Daily Telegraph.
"I know when those instances come up.
"There's a fine line and you don't want to cross it and really miss football. You've just got to tone that down and obviously it's been disappointing not playing the past two weeks but I just put my best foot forward and continue on.
"I'm more focused now on what I can do to help the team. I'm not going to dwell on it too much."
Jones was read the riot act by senior players last year when he was rubbed out for an off-the-ball strike, with Dan Hannebery publicly voicing the Swans' disappointment.
Hannebery described Jones' ill-discipline as "unacceptable" and some home truths were delivered internally.
Swans coach John Longmire played down the internal response to Jones' latest two-game ban, but Jones says he didn't need another dressing down to know exactly where he had erred.
Jones is in a similar bind to the tightrope Toby Greene has had to walk over at the GWS Giants.
Sydney rely on Jones' hardnosed approach, yet losing him through suspension could cost them a shot at this year's premiership, given the lack of experience already in the Swans' line-up.
However, despite the stakes being as high as they've ever been, Jones insists his latest infringements didn't raise the ire of teammates or the coach.
"We didn't really speak about it. It's not about me," Jones said.
"It's about us getting better and better and hopefully improving each week and that's the main thing.
"I understand (what I've done wrong). It's more about the team rather than the individual (and my part in that) is more understood."
Jones is also bracing for the prospect he might come up against brother, Nathan, who has led Melbourne to their first finals' series in 12 seasons.
The younger brother has sent down some congratulatory messages to Demons stalwart Nathan Jones, but that will be all for now.
"I'm actually very happy for him to make finals especially for the Melbourne football club breaking the drought and there's a chance we could run into them," he said.