Sydney Swans have been hit by the news Tom Hickey is facing six weeks on the sidelines after suffering a medial ligament injury.
The Swans are priced at 8/1 to win the 2022 AFL grand final but will be missing their number one ruckman for the next six weeks after he picked up the knee injury in the loss to the Western Bulldogs last week.
The loss of Hickey will be a big blow for the Swans after he showed his worth to the side during a stellar 2021 AFL campaign.
Last season Hickey was expected to be out for two months with a PCL injury but ended up missing just one game. Coach John Longmire is hoping for a similar miracle recovery this time but does not think it likely.
"That's exactly the same question I asked: if I come out and say six weeks, he's not going to be back in two, is he?" Longmire quipped.
"I'm hoping that's the case. I'd love to be proven wrong but I'm told that's not going to happen. He's in a brace and it's a different injury, unfortunately we expect him to be out for that six-week period."
However the absence of Hickey does open the door for Peter Ladhams to make his Swans debut.
The Swans will face North Melbourne next and the 24-year-old will get his chance to shine.
"He can really add to the midfield group not only in the ruck contest which is really important for us but also the ability to get the ball around the ground with his follow up and just play an important role for us," Longmire added.