by Daragh Ó Conchúir
Colin O'Riordan could be closing in on making his AFL debut this weekend. The former Tipperary footballer is being touted as a potential replacement for the injured Dan Hennebry in the Sydney team to take on Zach Tuohy's Geelong on Saturday.
Tuohy is coming off his 150th appearance, and could also have fellow Irishman Mark O'Connor in the side along with him, but for O'Riordan, it would represent a significant achievement having had to be patient since joining the Swans in 2015.
An All-Ireland winner at minor level while a month shy of his 16th birthday in 2011 and an All-Star nominee in his debut season with the Tipperary seniors in 2014, the JK Bracken's man created a significant impression at the end of his first season Down Under.
Playing with the reserves, O'Riordan's competitiveness in the contest in particular caught the eye and he was named on the NEAFL team of the year. This was despite his campaign coming to a premature end due to a collision that left him broken bone in his back and a punctured lung.
He impressed Sydney's staff with the determination he approached his rehab with and was presented with a two-year contract extension at the end of last year.
The benefits of an injury-free pre-season have been very evident with the reserves this year, where the 22-year-old is regularly among the best on ground.
With Hennebry ruled out by a groin problem, O'Riordan is being touted as a potential replacement.
Sydney will also be without legendary goal scorer Lance 'Buddy' Franklin, due to a bruised heel, which improves Geelong's chances of victory considerably.