Sydney’s injury crisis has deepened after the AFL club revealed co-captain Dane Rampe broke his right hand again and will miss the rest of the season.
The 15th-placed Swans are fresh from the highlight of their injury-marred campaign, having won the Sydney derby in a round-12 boilover.
But it has been soured by revelations that Rampe and Taylor will sit out Saturday’s clash with the Dockers and the rest of 2020, for significantly different reasons.
Rampe, who had a metal plate inserted as part of an operation to fix the broken hand he suffered in a round-eight win over Hawthorn, has broken the same bone again and requires more surgery.
Taylor has been barred from playing again this year as part of the AFL’s response to his COVID-19 protocol breach, which involved the teenager’s partner visiting the team’s biosecurity bubble at a Perth hotel.
The 19-year-old, who is yet to address teammates about his overt mistake, could yet face further club-imposed sanctions in response to an incident that had the potential to halt the stop-start season.
“It’s obviously sinking in and he’s very quiet, as you’d imagine, and no doubt reflective,” coach John Longmire said.
“It’s an immature decision.
“It’s disappointing but the players get on with it. They’re like anyone else, (striking) the balance of support but getting on with the job.
“They’ll be able to focus on the footy.”
The void left by Rampe, who has been one of the Swans’ most important and influential players both in terms of his leadership and reliability in defence, will be much harder to cover than that of first-year player Taylor.
Aliir Aliir could return from injury this weekend as Longmire mulls how best to reshuffle his magnets without the club’s reigning best and fairest.
The Swans were already missing a stack of prime movers, including Lance Franklin, Josh Kennedy, Isaac Heeney and Sam Naismith.
“Dane’s quality, not only on the field but off the field, is A1. You miss that,” Longmire said.
“I believe he was in All-Australian form this year.
“You don’t replace him, you work around that.”
The gutsy key defender tackled St Kilda within days of his hand operation then got through clashes with Collingwood and Greater Western Sydney.
“As tough as what he is – he even indicated that he’d like to play again this week … we just couldn’t go ahead with that,” Longmire said.
“Because we had to make sure we protect him.
“We weren’t going to take any more risks with Dane, he’s just too important.”