AFL Draft

AFL Draft Preview: Sydney Swans

 

List Breakdown:

 

Key Def Gen Def Mid Mid/Fwd Gen Fwd Key Fwd Ruck

Total

3 8 6 4 10 3 4 38

 

Average Age: 24.9

Players in:

Players out: Sam Murray

Retired/ Delisted:  Shaun Edwards (retired), Jeremy Laidler (retired), Sam Fisher (delisted), Brandon Jack (delisted), Alex Johnson (delisted), Tyrone Leonardis (delisted), Michael Talia (delisted)

Draft Picks: 14, 33, 51, 84, 92

 

Who they got/ lost

The Swans sat back with a bowl of popcorn for most of the trade and free agency period, being one of the most inactive clubs during October.

Mature age Rookie listed player Sam Murray requested a trade to Collingwood and got his wish, but other than Murray the Swans didn’t trade anyone out or in, opting to hang on to their picks 14 and 33.

Although, they did have seven other list changes. Among them were Jeremy Laidler, Brandon Jack, Michael Talia and in one of the more saddening list changes for any club – injury-riddled premiership defender, Alex Johnson.

 

What they need

You’ll struggle to find many more complete lists than Sydney’s. Elite, big bodied, bullying midfield, some of the best small and general defenders in the game and a dangerously scary forward half. When you put the pieces of Sydney together it’s hard not to wonder how on earth they took seven weeks to win their first game last season. They had, and still have, a top four standard list, they just left themselves too much to do last year and fell over in a semi.

However, no list is perfect and if you get your telescope out you will find some holes that need filling in their list makeup.

Heath Grundy is still one of the best key defenders in the game, but at 32, the swans need more than unproven talent, Aliir Aliir and impressive 17-gamer Lewis Melican under Grundy to fill his shoes. At 188cm Dane Rampe shouldn’t have to play as a genuine key defender, no matter how good he is. The Swans should look at bringing in a key defender in the draft.

As scary as their midfield is, it’s almost all inside bulls. Dan Hannebery can play inside and out, and we know how electric Gary Rohan can be on the wing, but we know just as well how inconsistent he can be – not to mention injury prone. So they need to add some outside midfield class to complement their contested machines in the guts.

 

On the radar

With their need for a key defender, Aaron Naughton is one the Swans will be praying slips to 14. Being a WA boy and probably the best key position player in the draft, he may go as high as 5 to the Dockers. But if he gets past 5, then he may very well slip to 14 and land in Sydney’s lap.

At 194, Naughton is no giant for a key defender, but he has outstanding athleticism and great awareness in the air. He played seven senior games for Peel Thunder in the WAFL, averaging seven marks and was named in their best three times. So he’s ready for the step up. It would be very surprising if he slipped past the Swans at 14.

If Naughton is already gone, however, Jarrod Brander is also in the conversation for the best key position player in the draft and although he may be more of a forward than a back, he has shown he can play as an intercept marking defender, so the Swans would be more than happy if they landed Brander.

If the Swans feel an outside mid is at the top of the list then they may even throw in a cheeky bid for Patrick Naish – Richmond’s potential father-son selection. Naish is a goal kicking winger with a penetrating kick, but if they do bid on him the Tigers are likely to match the bid even as high as 14.

Otherwise they may look at Lochie O’Brien, an elite runner with an attacking style of footy. To watch O’Brien kick a football is a pleasure, so a great user like O’Brien would complement their contested dominated midfield.

At 33 they may look at Jack Petruccelle if he’s still on the board. Petruccelle is the quickest player in the draft pool and could really add some excitement to Syndey’s midfield. Matthew Ling is another classy outside type they could look at, but he’s more of a small defender. Dylan Moore is a running machine who they also may consider here.

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