2019 in a Nutshell
September spectators for the first time in a decade, and just the fourth time in 24 years, meant that the 2019 season provided a novel, if unwanted, experience for John Longmire and his Swans. More valuable however, for the coach would be the increased opportunities the season afforded him to blood youngsters which began to pay dividends late in the season.
2020 Playing List
|1 Chad Warner||17 Will Gould||33 Ryley Stoddart|
|2 Kaiden Brand||18 Callum Sinclair||34 Jordan Dawson|
|3 Dylan Stephens||19 Matthew Ling||35 Barry O’Connor|
|4 Ryan Clarke||20 Sam Reid||36 Aliir Aliir|
|5 Isaac Heeney||21 Jack Maibaum||37 Elijah Taylor|
|6 Jackson Thurlow||22 Nick Blakey||38 Colin O’Riordan|
|7 Harry Cunningham||23 Lance Franklin||39 Brady Rowles|
|8 James Rowbottom||24 Dane Rampe (c)||41 Hayden McLean|
|9 Will Hayward||25 Ben Ronke||42 Robbie Fox|
|10 Sam Naismith||26 Luke Parker (c)||43 Lewis Melican|
|11 Tom Papley||27 Justin McInerney||44 Jake Lloyd|
|12 Josh Kennedy (c)||28 Lewis Taylor||45 Sam Wicks|
|13 Oliver Florent||29 George Hewett||46 Joel Amartey|
|14 Callum Mills||30 Tom McCartin||48 Michael Knoll|
|15 Sam Gray||31 Harry Reynolds|
|16 Zac Foot||32 James Bell|
|INS:||Lewis Taylor (Brisbane), Barry O’Connor (IRE), Dylan Stephens (Norwood), Will Gould (Glenelg), Elijah Taylor (Perth), Chad Warner (East Fremantle), Brad Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers), Sam Gray (Port Adelaide), Kaiden Brand (Hawthorn).|
|OUTS:||Daniel Menzel, Toby Pink, Cody Hirst, James Rose, Durak Tucker, Jarrad McVeigh, Kieran Jack, Heath Grundy, Nick Smith, Darcy Cameron, Zak Jones.|
Two double up games against top eight teams from the previous season is an unlucky break for a team that finished 15th. With Carlton, Gold Coast and Hawthorn the other three double up teams though, Champion Data rate it the second easiest draw.
No surprise then that the Swans were positive when discussing the fixture upon its release. “Overall our 2020 fixture provides a balanced draw that has a little something for everyone,” Swans CEO Tom Harley said.
“It will also be great to welcome some of the big-drawing Melbourne clubs to the SCG across a range of timeslots and days that will be sure to appeal to members and supporters alike. “To have six games in Melbourne – three being at the MCG – is a terrific result for our club, as is returning to Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.
Five Fearless Predictions
Young Talent Time
The Swans don’t subscribe to the theory that you have to go down to come back up again but with 16 players between 18-21 the Swans have quietly built an exciting group to build future success around. While finals are always the aim in Sydney, having spent much of 2019 getting game time into their youngsters, developing these players further will be the main focus in 2020.
Taylor to remind us why he beat the Bont.
Quite surprisingly now, given their career trajectories since, but Lewis Taylor beat out Marcus Bontempelli to the 2014 Rising Star Award. As a result the Swans believe they have enacted the steal of the trade period in acquiring the 25-year-old from Brisbane in exchange for Pick 48. Consequently, expect to see him given every chance to display his speed and skill on an SCG wing by John Longmire this year.
Buddy to set off after Ablett.
After 300 games and 944 goals, Buddy Franklin now sits in seventh place on the competition’s all-time goalkickers list. Just 26 goals behind Jack Titus, the big Swan should find himself in sixth place early in 2020 with an eye on Gary Ablett’s career tally of 1031 for a place in the Top Five.
Positive headlines only for Rampe.
The Swans co-captain has been in the headlines for some unusual reasons in recent years. In 2017 he broke his arm after tripping over a chain on a recovery run with teammates. While in 2019 he received unwanted attention after climbing a goal post while Essendon’s David Myers attempted a shot at goal. One of the competition’s finest defenders, and the Swans reigning Best and Fairest, 2020 will pass without an addition to his list of unusual headlines.
A welcome return.
Despite the Swans busy off-season list management, the biggest ‘recruit’ for the club may well prove to be Sam Naismith. The absence of the 27-year-old in the ruck was keenly felt as the Swans struggled to get first hands on the ball in the middle. While he might not be a Max Gawn or Brodie Grundy, he is a quality ruckman who will provide some greater flexibility with Callum Sinclair freed up to spend more time forward.
With three of their first four games against fellow non-finalists, the opening to the season couldn’t be kinder to the Swans aspirations of a fast rise up the ladder. A finals berth seems beyond them but after everything they’ve achieved this century it would not be the first time they’ve surprised us with their performances. Sydney to finish 12th-16th.