Family tragedy strikes Swans
SYDNEY Swans star Gary Rohan will miss Saturday's clash with the Western Bulldogs following the birth of his twin daughters, only one of whom has survived.
Rohan's wife Amie gave birth to the couple's first children on Thursday morning, months after revealing one of their daughters had been diagnosed with anencephaly, a fatal neural tube defect with no cure.
The babies were born five weeks early in Sydney and Swans coach John Longmire said Rohan would miss Saturday's clash at Etihad Stadium due to "personal reasons".
The Rohans bravely revealed their baby's condition last November, one which the doctors described as "not compatible with life".
Anencephaly is a fatal birth defect that causes the underdevelopment of the brain, scalp and skull.
"Since our brain tells our heart to beat, our lungs to breath, our legs to move and so on, these babies live from a few moments to a few hours after birth," Rohan wrote on Instagram last November.
"We come to the decision that either way, both our babies are beautiful, precious human beings, with the only thing being that sadly one's life is destined to be cut short."
Rohan missed the opening game of the AFL season against the West Coast in Perth to be with Amie, but played the past two matches in Sydney at the SCG.
He was among the Swans' best in the win over cross-town rivals the GWS Giants, kicking two goals.
It's not the first time the Swans have been hit by a baby tragedy.
In 2011, Rohan's teammate and then co-captain Jarrad McVeigh and wife Clementine lost their baby Luella to a heart condition a month after she was born.
The Swans won the following match against Geelong, wearing black armbands and dedicating the victory to the McVeighs.
Jarrad and Clementine have subsequently welcomed two more girls into the world, Lolita-Luella who was born in July 2012 and Florence who was born in September 2017.
Meanwhile, Aliir Aliir will get the chance to show what he can do after being named to take on the Bulldogs.
Earlier this week Longmire said the five-week break since Aliir hurt his ankle in the JLT Series match against Brisbane would work against him. But on closer examination of Aliir's pre-season workload the Swans coach had a change of heart.
"Aliir is ready to take his chance," Longmire said.
"We had a look at what Aliir had done in his pre-season and had a close look at his program and believe he's ready to return now."
The South Sudanese refugee is one of three inclusions for the match, along with Zak Jones and Nic Newman.
Jones has missed the past two matches after suffering calf tightness following the win over West Coast in Perth.
"Zak is really important to us," Longmire said.
"He has had a really strong week at training so we look forward to having him back in the team."
Newman makes his return to the senior team after being dropped for the Port Adelaide match in Round 2.
"Nic has played a lot of senior footy for us," Longmire said.
"He's a quality senior player and he played early in the season."
Lewis Melican (hamstring, 2-3 weeks) and Sam Reid (thigh, eight weeks) are out with injury.