Sydney utility Isaac Heeney has consistently teased the potential of becoming one of the league’s best players, but there is optimism 2022 might be the year he takes the next step.
Heeney, 25, has played seven seasons at the Swans since being a high draft pick in 2014 and has been one of the AFL’s most exciting players ever since.
The 129-gamer has shown prowess as both a forward and midfielder during his career but has often been stalled by injuries at crucial points.
However, with a full pre-season under his belt, Kane Cornes is predicting the upcoming season to be a breakout year for Heeney.
“Isaac Heeney, he’s the player I’m tipping to completely break out, and I hope that’s through the midfield more so than what he’s played,” Cornes told SEN Mornings when speaking to Sydney CEO Tom Harley.
Harley shares Cornes’ optimism on the talented Swan, predicting more midfield minutes for Heeney to take him to the next level.
“Isaac has had a fantastic summer,” he said.
“I think a lot of people probably underappreciated the significance of the ankle injury Isaac had in 2020 and the recovery that was required and the surgery.
“I thought he had a terrific year last year, culminating in a heartbreaking loss in the finals against GWS, he played exceptionally well.
“He’s trained through the midfield… so fully expect him to play more time there.”
Heeney signed a five-year deal back in 2016 that tied him to Sydney until the end of 2022, but his future beyond this season is uncertain.
Despite the blond-haired midfielder being unsigned, Harley sees “no issues” with the contract situation
“Yes, he’s out of contract, (but) we’ve got a great relationship with Isaac and a great relationship with Isaac’s manager, so I don’t foresee any issues there, he’s an integral key part of our long-term future and (we are) confident with where that sits,” Harley continued.
“I’m like you, I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with a full pre-season under his belt.
“He’s been a player that I think in some circles, and it’s been a bit harsh… Every time he’s got to that level at the top of the game and top of the competition, he’s had a broken hand or a head knock or that ankle injury.
“So I’m looking forward to Isaac finishing a full pre-season and playing some significant minutes in the midfield.
“But also doing what he does which is a license to go forward and kick goals because he’s a pretty tricky match up forward.”
Heeney is eligible for free agency at the end of 2022 if he chooses to leave the harbour state.