HE'S BACK: Lance Franklin returns for the Swans this week.
HE'S BACK: Lance Franklin returns for the Swans this week. TRACEY NEARMY

Buddy's back for the Swans

SWANS spearhead Lance Franklin will fire his first shot in anger this season after being given the all clear for Friday night's JLT series match against the GWS Giants at Blacktown.

Franklin had a shoulder re-construction in the off season and will make his first appearance since their grand final loss against the Western Bulldogs.

"Buddy will play," Swans assistant coach Henry Playfair said.

"It's (his pre-season) only been a little bit hampered but only in the contact sense. He's done the majority of sessions. He's just had to be careful and so have the guys around him not to injury his shoulder but he's been back in contact for a couple of weeks and ready to go."

Playfair will temporarily take over the senior coaching role from John Longmire for Friday night's match.

He says Franklin hasn't missed a beat since the successful pre-Christmas surgery on his shoulder

"He's been on board (with the program) since day one and has ticked every box along the journey," Playfair said.

"It's been pretty seamless up to this point and he's got one more training session to get through and we'll see him out there. We'll get through this one and then make the call on whether he plays the last game."

The Swans will also be boosted by the return of All Australian defender Dane Rampe, former co-captain Kieren Jack and grand final ruckman Sam Naismith.

"It's good to get some experience in the group and for those guys to get a hit out and some minutes under their belts," Playfair said.

"Ideally we wanted just enough minutes to get them ready for round one and we'll get that."

Friday night's match at Blacktown will be the first meeting with the Giants since the fiery clash in the qualifying final at ANZ Stadium.

"It's in the context of the season and it's JLT two," Playfair said.

"The main thing is it's against really good opposition which GWS are. It's less about them and more about preparing ourselves for round one against quality."

News Corp Australia

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