Sydney captain Callum Mills won't be rushed back into the side, says coach John Longmire, as he makes his bid to join the competition's ladder leaders on game day.

Mills injured his shoulder in the pre-season and has faced multiple setbacks, including a calf issue that has hindered his progress.

The Swans skipper hasn't played a game of football since last year's elimination final against Carlton and Longmire said he is still a few weeks away.

"He trained really well today," Longmire said on Tuesday.

"He won't play this week. He won't play next week. And the conversation is around (playing) the week after and hopefully, he gets through the end of next week's training in the sort of form he was at today's (training session)."

It is understood that Mills is aiming for a return in Round 18 (July 13) when the club hosts North Melbourne at the SCG, whilst the VFL side acts as a curtain-raiser before the senior side.

Longmire has shown he is reluctant to break up a winning formula, which has seen monumental improvements in Isaac Heeney, Chad Warner and James Rowbottom, who have all benefitted from more midfield time.

Veteran Luke Parker was forced to wait his turn (and still is following a four-week suspension in the VFL) while former Pie Taylor Adams has played more forward than centre.

Longmire confirmed that Heeney - who suffered a late knock to his shoulder last round - is "all good" while Rowbottom heaps praise from his coach following his performance against GWS.

"It's more the players and what they're asking of themselves," Longmire added.

"We're so fortunate that we've got a good group of players and that younger group have learnt off our older players who are able to make sure that they are able to do a role every week.

"Last week was terrific by 'Rowy', he played a very good game standing up on his own two feet but to be able to have an influence on the opposition's best player was really important for us as a team.

"He sort of relishes those opportunities... he's always been a selfless footy player."

The Swans have been near faultless so far in 2024, losing only one game but sitting 12 points clear on top of the ladder.

Despite being roars ahead of the rest of the competition, Longmire said he's well aware of the work that needs to occur for the remainder of the year, understanding that their next task in Fremantle will be another difficult battle.

The Dockers boast a strong midfield mix, led by ruck duo Sean Darcy and Luke Jackson, while youngsters Hayden Young, Caleb Serong and Andrew Brayshaw sit at their feet.


Longmire is under no illusion that Saturday's clash at the SCG will be won in the midfield, with whichever club gains ascendancy in that part of the ground to likely run out as eventual winners.

Fremantle will be without captain Alex Pearce for the contest, with scans confirming a fracture in his left forearm, sidelining him for at least three weeks.