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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Sydney Swans’ best 22 in 2019: Will we see a changing of the guard next season?

The next generation of Swans are here.

While we’ve all grown accustomed to the likes of Josh Kennedy, Jarrad McVeigh and Luke Parker dominating, it’s the younger Swans who are likely to capture our attention in 2019.
Callum Mills is poised for a move into the midfield, while Tom McCartin will be doing everything within his power to hold down the second tall position in the forward line.
Meanwhile, former Cats Jackson Thurlow and Ryan Clarke will both be pushing for spots in the club’s best 22.
In 2019 the Swans will have eighth youngest list in the AFL, a sign that tells us the complexion of the team is changing.
Expect draftee Nick Blakey to walk straight into the side, while the likes of Jordan Dawson and Ryley Stoddart could also be given greater opportunity. Will Hayward may also be rotated through the midfield.
A changing of the guard at the Swans is on the cards next year.
And after the club exited the finals in such demoralising fashion this season, coach John Longmire would be folly not to experiment with some adjustments.
He’s arguably the most recognised player in the game so it would be remiss to write about anyone other than Lance Franklin. The superstar forward is entering his 15th AFL season — and still has four years to run on that mega nine-year deal — but isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Despite being restricted to a limited workload in 2018 because of injury, Franklin still booted 57 goals to take his career tally to 917 majors, which is the eighth-best of all time. He was named the 2018 All-Australian captain.
Can former co-captain Kieren Jack maintain his position in Sydney’s best 22? It’s going to be a tough ask for the 31-year-old, who was well below his best this year, averaging just 14.8 disposals per game. With the emergence of Isaac Heeney and the likelihood that Callum Mills will be moved into the midfield next year, it’s questionable whether there’s a spot for Jack in Sydney’s engine room. We know he’s more than capable in front of goal. But it’s unlikely Jack would kick out any of the club’s young forwards.
First it was Isaac Heeney. Then came Callum Mills. And now the Sydney Academy has produced another gem in Nick Blakey. The No. 10 draft pick shapes as Lance Franklin’s long term replacement up forward, but the 195cm Blakey is also capable of playing in the midfield. He should debut early in the season.
Callum Sinclair. In the absence of Sam Naismith (ACL), Sinclair played 23 games as the club’s recognised ruckman in 2018. But Naismith is on track for a Round 1 return and will certainly take precedence as the preferred ruckman next season. It’s unclear whether the Swans will play two rucks, although it’s possible Sinclair could push forward to provide another marking option.
B: D. Rampe, H. Grundy, J. Lloyd
HB: L. Melican, A. Aliir, C. Mills
C: H. Cunningham, J. Kennedy, O. Florent
HF: B. Ronke, L. Franklin, G. Hewett
F: W. Hayward, S. Reid, D. Menzel
FOL: Sam Naismith, I. Heeney, L. Parker
I/C: Z. Jones, T. Papley, J. McVeigh, N. Blakey
EMG: T. McCartin, J. Thurlow, C. Sinclair, R. Clarke