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David King and Jason Dunstall discuss Luke Parker playing VFL, missing the Sydney derby, Sydney Swans v GWS Giants, selection, reaction, response, latest news

AFL greats have debated the Swans’ decision to play Luke Parker in the VFL for the second week in a row rather than unleash him in the Sydney derby.

Parker, a five-time Brett Kirk Medalist for best ground player in the Battle of the Bridge, dominated on his return from a broken arm in the Swans’ reserves last week, racking up 34 disposals with six tackles.

However, John Longmire opted not to bring him back directly for Saturday’s blockbuster SCG clash against fellow flag contender GWS, with the clubs second and third in the standings respectively, and instead named the player 31 years old as an emergency.

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Dane Rampe replaced Braeden Campbell as Sydney’s only change, while Toby Greene and Sam Taylor return for the Giants.

Speaking on Fox Footy on Thursday night, Kangaroos legend David King backed the move to resist Parker given how well the 6-1 Swans are playing.

AFL greats have debated the Swans’ decision to play Luke Parker in the VFL for the second week in a row rather than unleash him in the Sydney derby.Source: FOX SPORTS

“He has to earn his way back, be in top shape and full health,” King said of Parker.

“They are flying and playing very well. He just walks right in, right? They have a different posture. There is a big gap between VFL and AFL. I like it.”

However, three-time Coleman medalist and Hawthorn champion Jason Dunstall held the opposite view, arguing: “We’re talking about one of the best players they’ve ever had.”

To which King responded: “Is he still one of your best players? There is a gray area there. I think John Longmire is handling him wonderfully and making him work a little harder to get in.”

Meanwhile, Australian double Leigh Montagna said it is “fair” that Parker “no longer fits” into Sydney’s starting midfield, noting that “team balance is important”.

But Dunstall was perplexed as to how the Swans could not find a different role for the veteran.

“Get into your best 22, all day, every day! Give us a spell!” she concluded.

The Battle of the Bridge begins at 1.45pm on Saturday at the SCG, with heavy rain forecast in Sydney for the huge top-four showdown.