Teammate backs Parker as Swans overlook veteran again

Nick Blakey has backed Luke Parker to play a key role in Sydney's AFL premiership push despite the experienced midfielder again being overlooked at selection, this time for the blockbuster clash with Carlton.

After missing the start of the season with a broken arm, Parker has returned with a bang in a series of strong VFL performances.

But the decorated 31-year-old - a three-time club champion, former captain, All-Australian and premiership hero - has been unable to break into a senior midfield group that has fired the AFL ladder-leading Swans to an 8-1 start.

Brownlow Medal favourite Isaac Heeney has shone since being pushed further up the ground in the absence of Parker and injured captain Callum Mills (shoulder), while Chad Warner and Errol Gulden have taken their games to new levels.

The Swans opted to rest Matt Roberts for Friday night's clash with Carlton at the SCG, but recalled Braeden Campbell from the reserves ahead of Parker.

"That's probably the evolution of this team now," Swans defender Blakey said.

"Parksy is an incredible player and has done so much for this club, and he's obviously still coming back from injury as well.

"I've got no doubt that he'll be back in the team at some stage.

"He'll keep going about his business and when his time comes I'm sure he'll play well."

Parker has averaged almost 30 disposals a game in his three VFL appearances to date and kicked the match-winning goal against North Melbourne last week with a bomb from outside 50m.

"It's hard not to see, he's got it saved on his phone," Blakey laughed.

"He reckons it was 90 metres away. It was a very good goal."

Sydney will play their fourth standalone Thursday or Friday night match of the season against a talented Carlton outfit that fancy themselves on the big stage.

The seventh-placed Blues (6-3) have played five matches in those feature time slots this year and three times in front of crowds well in excess of 80,000 fans this season.

"We're used to playing in front of big crowds and we'd like to think that we can adapt if it's a little bit hostile at any stage," Carlton coach Michael Voss said.

"We're playing against a really good opposition that deserves an enormous amount of respect.

"But at the same time we come in really confident with what we've been able to put on the table over the course of the last month."

Carlton have made four changes following last week's thrilling one-point win over Melbourne, losing Adam Cerra (hamstring), Matt Cottrell (foot) and Jack Martin (calf) to injuries.

Lachlan Cowan has been dropped while Zac Williams, Caleb Marchbank, Jack Carroll and Orazio Fantasia all return.

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