Collingwood fans boo Buddy Franklin at the MCG
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Once again poor kicking for goal cost the Swans in their ultimate match of 2023. A tremendous effort by the Bloods, especially in the second half, but they left themselves with too much work to do. Inaccurate kicking for goals is not just down to bad luck – it is a lot to do with not coping with the pressure of the moment. Too many senior Swan’s players did not take their chances when it mattered most in big games. This was a common theme throughout season 2023, unfortunately. Sydney Swan’s takeaways and future requirements for 2024 are listed here.

a sports stadium with a field and a field with a crowd of people with Melbourne Cricket Ground in the background

Bigger Bodies Required Around The Ball By Sydney Swans In 2024

The Swans need bigger and stronger bodies in season 2024. This must be a focus for recruiters and for the physical preparation of existing players going into the next season. Sydney have lost Buddy Franklin and Paddy McCartin – two of the biggest bodies we had in the team in 2023. Franklin, in particular, was a major physical presence for the Swans over his time at Sydney. In my opinion, the conditioning of the Swans is too focused on lean and lithe running body types to the detriment of power and physical presence.

What about bulking Isaac Heeney up somewhat to give us more strength and power up forward?

Sydney Swans Need Size & Power In 2024

Size and power are most important around the ball at centre bounces, where they obviously need a strong first-string ruckman. The Swans have lacked this for around 10 years. Brody Grundy would be an obvious choice. In addition, Sydney require stronger midfield bodies – recruiting a senior player here would be also smart. Chad Warner is developing, as are a number of these young midfielders – James Rowbottom, Errol Gulden, and Gus Sheldrick. Can Braeden Campbell go into the midfield in 2024? Will he be big enough and strong enough after another preseason to begin his apprenticeship there?  

Swans Shellacking By Cats Is Déjà Vu

Swans Seek Tall Defender For Next Season

In defence, the Swans are looking to recruit a key position player. Tom McCartin is a great young player doing a mighty job. Lewis Melican has been re-signed and is seen as a lockdown defender. Injuries to key defenders was a major issue in 2023. Dane Rampe is coming to the end of his wonderful career. Will the dashing half backers – Ollie Florent and Nick Blakey move into the midfield next year or stay put. Jake Lloyd is getting on but continues to marshal the troops back there. Justin McInerney is a great running defender with potential to play a number of valuable roles. Harry Cunningham did a solid job in defence this year.

Forward Line Stocks Rosy At Sydney

In the forward line stocks look pretty good with Hayden McLean, Logan McDonald, and Joel Amartey. Tom Papley is a great small forward and pinch hits in the midfield. Will Hayward is a classy half forward. Sam Wicks puts great pressure on there and is developing into a handy small forward.

Great Leaders At The Swans

Callum Mills is a great young captain, midfielder, and provides defensive options as well. Luke Parker remains a wonderful leader and footballer. It was a great move to put him up forward in the second half of the elimination final against Carlton. Errol Gulden had a fantastic All Australian season and is a brilliant player to have as a Swan going forward into 2024.

white swan on water during daytime

Fringe & Future Swans

Robbie Fox played some solid games in 2023 and was a handy running defender. The Sydney Swans missed Sam Reid in 2023 and he has had dreadful luck with his body over the journey. Dylan Stephens has been slow to come on and may move clubs. Matty Roberts has potential, as does Cory Warner, Aaron Francis, Peter Ladhams, and Ryan Clarke.

The Sydney Swans are a great AFL team and have a bright future for future success in 2024. Recruiting a powerful first-string ruckman is paramount. Picking up another quality tall defender would be another good move. Something needs to happen in terms of improving their ability to win the ball from centre bounces and stoppages in 2024. Whether that involves recruiting a smart, bigger bodied midfielder or getter better midfield coaching – something really needs to advance here.

Yes, they are a young team and will be bigger next year after another preseason, but will that be enough to rely on?

Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of The Stoic Golfer: Finding Inner Peace & Focus on the Fairway.

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