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The four players who could make or break Sydney Swans in 2022



The Sydney Swans finished sixth on the ladder, as they won 15 games and lost seven, in season 2021. They finished just one game and percentage outside the top four, which is where the Brisbane Lions finished last season.

Despite that, they are seventh in relation to this article as they lost to the GWS Giants in an elimination final.

The Swans won seven of their last eight games in the home-and-away part of season 2021. Despite that, they are a team that lost a couple of players through the trade period.

The Swans will be without Jordan Dawson, who was traded to the Adelaide Crows in the off-season. They also traded George Hewett to the Carlton Blues in the off-season. Dawson finishing third in the Swans best and fairest in season 2022. Both players will be sorely missed.

Tom Hickey will have some support in the ruck from Peter Ladhams, who the Swans recruited from the Port Adelaide Power. In season 2021, Hickey finished sixth in the Swans’ best and fairest, featuring in 21 of 23 games. They look set to play with both ruckmen in their best 22.

The Swans have some good experienced players as they had four players named in the AFL All Australian squad: Lance Franklin, Callum Mills, Tom Papley, and Luke Parker. Despite that, they won four of the five games that Lance Franklin didn’t play and also won three of five games that newly appointed co-captain Mills was unavailable for, in season 2021.

Isaac Heeney had a relatively tough season in 2020, when taking into account he only played six of the Swans 17 games in season 2020, due to suffering an ankle injury in Round 6. Despite that, the Swans finished third-last in season 2020, but two of their four wins came with Heeney in the team.

Heeney featured in 21 of 23 games that the Swans played in season 2021. They lost both of the games that he was unavailable for, in Round 5 and Round 8. He finished seventh in the Swans’ best and fairest last season, which he will need to improve on if the Swans are to reach their optimum level. He still managed to average the third-most goals of any Swans player with an average of 1.71 goals per game.

Isaac Heeney celebrates a goal

(James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

There’s no disputing that playing in the midfield will give Heeney more opportunity to showcase his talent in season 2022.

Tom McCartin will play as a key defender once again. There’s no doubt that the Swans will be reliant on him. The one game he missed through injury in Round 6, the Suns beat the Swans by 40 points. It indicates that he is an important part of the Swans defence.

McCartin averaged the second most intercepts of any Swans player in season 2021 with an average of 6.68 intercepts per game, a key indicator that he will be a pivotal part of Sydney’s defence this year.

There’s no doubt that McCartin will have to be better in season 2022 than he was in season 2021, as he finished outside the top ten in the Swans best and fairest in season 2021.

Oliver Florent featured in all 23 games that the Swans played in season 2021, but he only finished ninth in their best and fairest. Florent is expected to play on the wing in season 2022. He has plenty of potential, but he must start to produce what he’s capable of in terms of consistency.

Florent averaged the sixth-most disposals of any Swan in season 2021 with an average of 18.96 disposals per game, which should increase in season 2022. Despite that, he only averaged 4.04 score involvements per game.

The scope for growth is there – it’s up to Florent whether he contributes more than he did in season 2021.

Tom Papley was the only Swans player that was selected in the AFL All Australian final team of 22 in season 2021. He was named in the forward pocket, despite only averaging 1.87 goals per game, which shows he doesn’t only have goals to offer.

Despite playing every game, he finished fourth in the Swans’ best and fairest. He only averaged the equal 25th highest average goals in season 2021 of any player in the competition, which he can improve on in season 2022.

Papley is an extremely important player for the Swans; he averaged the second most score involvements of any of their players with an average of 6.30 score involvements per game. Even though he is an exceptional player, he can improve: he averaged the equal 28th highest average score involvements of any player in the competition.

Despite that, his stats don’t tell the whole story as he is able to do some freakish things.



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