Tim Watson believes that Sydney forward Sam Reid can be the final piece of the puzzle for the Swans as they embark on a 2017 season laden with expectation.
The 25-year-old tall forward missed the entirety of the 2016 season with hamstring, calf and Achilles injuries, however Sydney coach John Longmire revealed after the club’s Grand Final defeat to the Western Bulldogs that Reid was under consideration to make a shock return to the side for the season decider.
Watson believes that this is a sign that Longmire has faith in the injury-prone forward to play an important role in the Swans’ campaign this year.
“I reckon there is one key inclusion into that side if this bloke is fit, his name is Sam Reid,” the former Essendon skipper said on SEN Breakfast.
“We know that John Longmire almost played an underdone Sam Reid in the Grand Final, he spoke about it post Grand Final that he really did want to play him and they didn’t.
“I reckon he makes an enormous difference to their side both forward and back if he plays and is fit, because he has given us glimpses.
“He has never been able to do it consistently enough because of injury and other reasons but I think he makes a massive difference.
“It’s about (Sydney’s) improvement and I think Sam Reid can provide that.”
Garry Lyon disagreed, considering Reid only as a bonus should the 98-gamer get over his chronic injuries.
“I can’t trust him. I can’t trust him to play, I can’t trust his body,” he said.
“I know he’s got the pure football ability to be able to influence a side and take them from runner up to (premiers), but it has been so long since I have seen it.
“Even the fact they were thinking of playing him ahead of Xavier Richards tells you what they think of him but the expectation and the reality can sometimes be poles apart.
“It’s not his fault because his body lets him down, but I’m not factoring him in. He is going to be a beautiful bonus if he gets up.”
Watson also believes Longmire to be the most underrated coach in the competition, believing he does not get the credit for coaching the side to a 68% win record and six consecutive top six finishes since taking over from Paul Roos in 2011.
“For his coaching record, (Longmire) is not a coach I think that gets the plaudits that he should receive as Sydney Swans coach for what he has been able to do,” he said.
“If you asked a lot of people out there about the best coach in the competition, he might be the fifth or sixth coach that’s named by a lot of people because he goes about it in an unassuming sort of a way.
“He just gets them to the line, they work as hard as any side in the competition about the way they play, they are real workhorses but they’ve got some real class in that side as well.”
What they added over the off-season...
National Draft: 11 – Oliver Florent, 21 – Will Hayward, 46 – Jack Maibaum, 48 - Darcy Cameron, Jordan Foote (zone selection)
Rookies: Ben Ronke, Robbie Fox, Shaun Edwards, Toby Pink, Sam Fisher (CAT B)
What they lost from 2016...
Retired: Ted Richards, Ben McGLynn, Tom Derrickx
Delisted: Kyle Galloway, Abe Davis, Jack Hiscox, Xavier Richards
Traded: Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn), Toby Nankervis (Richmond)
The first month...
Round 1: Sydney Swans v Port Adelaide at SCG
Round 2: Western Bulldogs v Sydney Swans at Etihad Stadium
Round 3: Sydney Swans v Collingwood at SCG
Round 4: West Coast Eagles v Sydney Swans at Domain Stadium
Where will they finish?