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Swan Districts boosted by return of AFL brigade

Swan Districts coach Greg Harding has declared all the club’s boom off-season recruits barring Clancee Pearce available for tomorrow’s season-opening clash with Perth at Steel Blue Oval.

Ryan Crowley and David Ellard have recovered from groin and knee injuries respectively and are confirmed starters for round one.

Xavier Ellis, Corey Gault and Jamie Bennell are also set to be unveiled after coming out of the AFL system.

Former Fremantle utility player Pearce will be sidelined for 12 months after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament.

Harding said the new faces were committed to driving Swans back up the ladder after a “dark and dingy” 2016 in which they claimed the wooden spoon with just two wins.

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“Xavier’s had his issues over the course of his career, Crowley is 31, going into his 32nd year and he’s obviously got some miles on the clock,” Harding said.

“He had a minor groin two weeks ago, so we put him away really early and he’ll play this week. Ellard got a knock on his knee, which was insignificant.

“Right at this point in time, apart from Clancee, we’ll pretty much have everyone on our list ready to go.”

In contrast to Swans’ healthy injection of experience, Perth coach Earl Spalding said the loss of senior players Angus Graham (returned to Victoria), Dene White (amateurs) and Tendai Mzungu (Greater Western Sydney) over the off-season would force him to play plenty of youngsters.

The departures have made prospects of backing up last year’s improved season that yielded seven league wins all the more difficult.

Take a look at the best of last year as we prepare for season 2017 to get underway.

Spalding promised his side would have a crack, but would be heavily reliant on its best players performing.

“We’re probably going to have unprecedented numbers as first-gamers this week,” Spalding said.

“From that point of view, you’re a little bit nervous because you’re not too sure what you’re going to get, but in time they’re going to be really exciting.”

The Demons will rely heavily on the leadership of experienced midfielders Clint Jones and Sandover medallist Aidan Tropiano.

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