Syd­ney Swans

Inside Sport - - Team Previews -

Never been a gaunt­let quite like the one the Swans ran in 2017, spot­ting the rest of the AFL a head start af­ter six win­less rounds, and set­ting it­self a lu­di­crous task of win­ning some­thing like 14 of its last 16 to make the fi­nals. But that’s ex­actly what they did, re­in­forc­ing the per­cep­tion of the Bloods as ut­terly re­silient, and a lit­tle bloody-minded.

Syd­ney should be around the mark again, be­cause who dares ex­pect oth­er­wise af­ter last sea­son? The Swans should at least get off to a bet­ter start (or John Long­mire will hope so). The mid­field op­er­a­tion re­mains the envy of the rest of the league, with Josh Kennedy (pic­tured), Luke Parker, Dan Han­nebery and emerg­ing star Isaac Heeney dom­i­nat­ing at stop­pages.

And for all the bleat­ing about the deal that brought him to Syd­ney, it’s a hard ar­gu­ment to sus­tain that Buddy Franklin hasn’t been worth it, so far. Kurt Tip­pett’s sur­prise re­tire­ment in the off­sea­son threw Buddy’s con­tract into stark re­lief – sure, five more qual­ity years for a 31-yearold might be too much to ex­pect. But when you have a bloke boot­ing ten to win the Cole­man in the last match of the home-and-away, ap­ply­ing ra­tio­nal­ity might not be the cor­rect frame of ref­er­ence, for him or his club.

Im­prob­a­ble sce­nario: The Swans win an­other premier­ship, and the Mel­bourne me­dia gives them credit for it.

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