The Swans were a surprise packet in 2021, climbing their way into the top eight off the back of some impressive wins. Rising from a bottom four side in 2020 into finals a year later, Sydney’s new attacking game style took the competition by storm.
Failing to beat cross-town rivals GWS in the elimination final meant the Swans’ September aspirations were short-lived, but the young side has plenty of potential heading into 2022. With Lance Franklin on the verge of a goal-kicking milestone and plenty of new additions to the club, the Swans can expect plenty more wins to come their way this season.
In: Peter Ladhams, Angus Sheldrick, Matthew Roberts, Corey Warner, Lachie Rankin, Paddy McCartin
Out: Jordan Dawson, George Hewett, Kaiden Brand, Sam Gray, Matthew Ling, Malachy Carruthers
Tackles - 5th
Goal Accuracy - 1st
Turnovers - 5th
Free Kicks Against - 15th
Opp. Rebound 50s - 13th
Star player: Lance Franklin
With his 1000th goal anticipated in the opening weeks of the season, Franklin is one of the big-ticket players for the Swans this season. Throughout his 16 seasons in the game, Franklin has barely put a foot wrong, cementing himself as a dominant key forward.
Franklin played 18 games and kicked 51 goals last year and looked as if he had shaken injury trouble that has plagued much of his recent career. Heading into 2022, if the 35-year-old can keep his body right, he will be an essential player both on and off the field for the Swans as he passes his craft on to a young, developing forward line.
One to watch: Paddy McCartin
The luckless former Saint has been granted another opportunity at AFL level by the Swans, where he will join brother Tom. The former #1 draft pick spent five seasons at St Kilda but managed just 35 games due to a string of head knocks.
When McCartin was healthy at the Saints, he was a formidable target inside 50. Should he be able to string together a consistent run of games and regain some of that old form, McCartin will be one of the most exciting players to watch in the competition, with plenty of potential waiting to be put on show.
Under pressure: Isaac Heeney
The electric Swan had a brilliant 2021 season, kicking 36 goals from 21 games - including four in Sydney’s elimination final loss against the Giants. The Swans academy product spent some time in the middle last year, accumulating an average of 15.9 disposals per game, while managing to do plenty of damage in the forward line.
With a six-year deal freshly inked and more midfield minutes imminent, Heeney will have the expectations of another career-best outing on his shoulders heading into 2022. He’s long been touted to make a permanent move into the midfield, something that has yet to materialise.
Having turned his back on free agency and committed to the club which gave him his start, Heeney will be keen to back up his 2021 efforts and prove he is worth every dollar. The question is, in which part of the ground will he be most utilised?
The Swans have plenty of expectations on their shoulders after their rapid rise up the ladder in 2021. With Franklin in good form and their young brigade finding their feet at the top level, the Swans have what it takes to be a finals team once again but may find themselves falling short of the main prize for the second year running.
Facing the Giants in Round 1 gives the Swans the perfect opportunity to put the elimination final behind them and prepare for a complex opening month, going on to face Geelong, the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne. Of the five teams they play twice in 2022, three made finals last year, but the Swans seemingly have an easier run in the last month of the season - giving them an advantage should the race to the eight tighten up.
Five matches to watch
Round 1 vs. Greater Western Sydney, Accor Stadium, Saturday March 19
Round 2 vs. Geelong, SCG, Friday March 25
Round 9 vs. Essendon, SCG, Saturday May 14
Round 14 vs. St Kilda, SCG, TBC
Round 20 vs. Greater Western Sydney, SCG, TBC
All time games
- Adam Goodes - 372
- Jude Bolton - 325
- Jarrad McVeigh - 325
- Michael O’Loughlin - 303
- Ryan O’Keefe - 286
All time goals
- Bob Pratt - 681
- Michael O’Loughlin - 521
- Barry Hall - 467
- Adam Goodes - 464
- Tony Lockett - 462
MOST DISPOSALS: Luke Parker - 641
MOST TACKLES: Luke Parker - 106
MOST CLEARANCES: Luke Parker - 146
MOST MARKS: Jordan Dawson - 126
MOST GOALS: Lance Franklin - 51