Young guns add zest to Swans AFL midfield

27/08/2018 Posted by admin

Isaac Heeney (centre) has been hailed for adding new grunt to the Swans’ midfield by Dan Hannebery.Sydney AFL stalwart Dan Hannebery has hailed the emergence and growing contributions of the new wave of youngsters boosting the Swans’ midfield depth and taking some of the load off their established on-ballers.

In recent years Hannebery, Luke Parker Josh Kennedy and Kieren Jack were the major midfield drivers and ball winners for the perennial contenders.

Over the past one-and-a-bit seasons, Swans’ coach John Longmire has gradually injected more youth into the high traffic area, with those players having more of an impact this year and helping out the veteran on-ball scrappers.

“Clearly we’ve got a lot more midfield spread,” Hannebery said.

“In the past we might have had only three four five guys maximum through there. Now we’ve got about seven or eight.

“(Tom) Papley, George Hewett, Isaac Heeney, Zak Jones, those four guys in particular, have added a real different mix to us and helped us improve as a midfield group as a side as well.

‘”It’s important for a footy side in a midfield to have a lot of guys that go through there rather than just the three or four people.”

Combative Heeney, in particular, has added more grunt to the Swans’ engine room this season.

The 21-year-old dynamo is averaging a career-best of almost 23 touches and 12 contested possessions a game and has been a standout performer through the first four rounds.

“I think he’s just showing the sort of player he can be,” Hannebery said.

“He’s going to keep evolving and keep improving no doubt, but he’s given us a massive lift in there.

“He’s given us a different look also and we’re just hoping he can continue his form.”

Hannebery is adamant he’s back to full fitness after a calf injury prevented him from playing until round two.

“It wasn’t the preparation that you would like going into an AFL season, but certainly now after a couple of games I’m feeling really good,” Hannebery said.

“The body is feeling good, fitness is up to scratch as well.”

Australian Associated Press

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