Premiership star Dion Prestia is set to make his return as the Tigers look to take on the Swans in a top-of-the-ladder clash this Thursday night.
The former Gold Coast Sun has been on the sidelines for the past seven rounds battling a calf injury and has only been fit for four games this season.
The 25-year-old is set to be brought straight back into the senior side for the Thursday night blockbuster.
Coach Damian Hardwick spoke on how they’ve been preparing Prestia to be ready to play at AFL level.
“Dion will be available for selection this week, which is a real positive for us,” Hardwick told the media on Tuesday.
“He’s had a really good, solid training block so he’ll put his hand up straight away for AFL [selection] and we’ll make that decision today (Tuesday).”
Hardwick did consider bringing Prestia back through the reserves but felt he was ready to play at the elite level.
“We did consider it but the fact is we got two really good training blocks with Dion and that was always the train of thought just to get him right for AFL,” he said.
“He’s such a vital player to the way we play and we can’t wait to have him back. He’ll get through training today and he’ll put his hand up and he’ll play this week, which is good.”
The Tigers are not yet back to full-strength with star defender Bachar Houli still out battling a groin injury. They will welcome back David Astbury however, after he missed their previous clash with Geelong due to an ankle injury.
It is set to be a thriller as the two top-teams in the competition look to cement their spot atop the league ladder. Hardwick spoke on the exciting prospect of once again witnessing Alex Rance take on Lance Franklin.
“It will [happen] at stages, there’s no doubt. Alex plays full-back, Franklin plays a traditional full-forward role, so we’re going to see that at stages.
“But once again, Alex will play on whoever’s down there. Luke Parker will be down there at various other stages as well.
“They’re two great players, so it’s worth the price of admission to come and see those guys.”
The game is set to be held at the Etihad stadium, Hardwick downplayed concerns about not having the game held at the Tiger’s real home ground, the MCG.
“It is what it is. We can’t change it, we accept it. We’re happy to play them anywhere, any time, as most clubs would be, and Sydney would be the same,” he said.