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Best 22 and draft needs: Sydney


Sydney had another reasonably successful season, winning more games than they lost and making the finals again - but former Saint Nick Dal Santo believes "the current model (of play style) isn’t going to win them a premiership."

It was the Buddy Show in 2018, with the big man leading the goalkicking and drawing most of the inside 50 attention as the Swans made another finals series - an incredible eighth in a row.

We saw the emergence of young forward Ben Ronke, and solid years from fellow youngsters Isaac Heeney, Tom McCartin and Oliver Florent.


An achilles injury to Sam Reid impacted the Swans' scoring power, and young gun defender Callum Mills broke his foot in an after-hours game of American football.

But despite a poor home-ground record (5 wins, 7 losses) and the aforementioned injuries, the Swans made the finals yet again - only to bow out in the Elimination Final against GWS in uninspiring fashion.

Below is what Sydney’s best 22 looks like pre-draft:

FB: Nick Smith, Heath Grundy, Dane Rampe
HB: Zak Jones, Aliir Aliir, Jarrad McVeigh
C: Callum Mills, Isaac Heeney, Jake Lloyd
HF: George Hewett, Lance Franklin, Oliver Florent
FF: Tom Papley, Callum Sinclair, Ben Ronke
Fol: Sam Naismith, Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker
INT: Sam Reid, Harry Cunningham, Kieren Jack, Daniel Menzel

Long-term needs

The Swans don't appear to have any glaring deficiencies in any specific area of the ground - they'll need to ensure an organic turnover of their list, which they seem well-placed to accomplish. Lance Franklin is 31 years of age, but doesn't appear to be slowing down at all.

At 26, ruckman Sam Naismith also should have a good long career ahead of him, but is coming off an ACL tear. Perhaps a succession plan for the number one ruck role could be something to consider.

The Swans missed out of Darcy Moore, so young talls could be on the agenda, as well as long-term replacements for their midfield guns.

Short-term needs

Sydney could use a replacement for Dan Hannebery - ideally one with a bit of toe to go with the inside grunt Hannebery provided.

With Dan Menzel moving across from the Cats, the Swans' forward-line issues may have been addressed - if he can stay on the park. Handy goal-kickers are always in high demand though, and the Swans may look for another forward if there's one available in the National, Rookie or pre-season drafts.

Draft picks: 26, 33, 38, 39, 40, 88

Who could they target?

The Swans will use as many picks as necessary to match bids for highly touted Academy prospect Nick Blakey, who has declared that Sydney is where he wants to be in 2019 (despite being eligible as a father-son pick for both North Melbourne and Brisbane).

Blakey has the size of a key forward with the agility of a midfielder, and is rated as a top 10 prospect (according to AFL Draft Central).

The Swans may also look for a rangy young ruckman to bolster their big-man stocks and prepare for the future.

With the departure of Hannebery, the Swans might try to find a midfielder for a bargain with one of their late picks.

But with their commitment to drafting Blakey, it's difficult to know who they may target and which picks they may have available.

best 22 and draft needs Sydney Swans

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