With the Sydney Swans falling well short of expectations this year, is there anyone from the delisted free agents pool they may look to add?
The Sydney Swans are the undisputed champions of recycling other club’s trash and turning into treasure. Their season started really poorly, but they lifted incredibly well to make it to the semi-finals. However, it was evident that there was something missing from this side, which was preventing them from going that extra distance. With quite a bit of talent on offer in the delisted free agency week, who could they possibly have their eyes on this year?
Former Collingwood Magpies defender Lachlan Keeffe played 40 games from 2011-14, but was firstdelisted three years ago after a suspension for testing positive to banned drug clenbuterol. He was re-listed in 2017, but failed to play another match.
Sydney have never boasted a tall defensive line, preferring to rely on smaller, quicker players to rebound the ball such as Callum Mills, Dane Rampe and Jarrad McVeigh – a tactic which has worked extraordinarily well. However, after the Geelong Cats found them out in the semifinal, they may wish to add stature to their back 50. Keeffe is only 27, and would represent a cheap, AFL-experienced option to add 204 centimetres of height to their back line. He will also add some variety and be able to draw either the first or second tall, providing the likes of Mills and Rampe even more of an opportunity to rebound and use their pace.
Billy Hartung is as much built for the Swans as any delisted player this offseason. His gut-busting runs and incredible fitness saw him play 63 games between 2014 and 2017 for the Hawthorn Hawks, before he was surprisingly cut in October. The Bloods have lacked a player of Hartung’s running ability since they traded Lewis Jetta home to the West Coast Eagles in 2016. At 22, he fits the club’s classic age profile of a depth midfielder. Hartung’s disposal is what finds him off an AFL list right now. The drawback with Hartung is not how much he burns the footy, it is when. More often than not, his errors have cost Hawthorn goals at key points in close games. His former coach Alastair Clarkson places a premium on how his players use the ball, and the 22-year-old wasn’t up to scratch in this area. Can Sydney carve a diamond out of this rock?
It’s no secret the Swans need more goals outside of the 75-80 Lance Franklin kicks each year. Were they to pick up former West Coast forward Josh Hill, they would immediately add firepower to their forward line. Hill is a solidly built, mobile goal kicker with a career high of 40 in a year as recently as 2015. However, with the Eagles going in a youthful direction for 2018, he was always battling uphill to earn a contract for next season. Still, he is only 28, and still has a fair few good seasons left. He’s also one of the best shots on goal in the league, something Sydney could do with, given they were closer to the bottom than the top of accuracy indicators last year. Will the Swans add Hill to their list and give themselves some X-factor in the forward line?