Ins: Will Edwards (Category B Rookie), Aaron Francis (Trade, Essendon), Jacob Konstanty (NAB Draft, Pick 20), Jaiden Magor (Rookie Draft), Caleb Mitchell (NAB Draft, Pick 40), Cameron Owen (Rookie Draft), Cooper Vickery (NAB Draft, Pick 27)
Outs: James Bell (Delisted), Josh Kennedy (Retired), Sam Naismith (Delisted), Barry O’Connor (Delisted), Colin O’Riordan (Retired), Ben Ronke (Delisted), Callum Sinclair (Retired), Lewis Taylor (Delisted)
Draw: Based on the new weighted draw brought in for the 2023 season, Sydney will statistically have the hardest draw in the competition. The Swans will face Fremantle, Geelong, Gold Coast, GWS, Melbourne, and Richmond twice throughout the year.
Forwards: Joel Amartey, Ryan Clarke, Lance Franklin, Hugo Hall-Kahan*, Will Hayward, Isaac Heeney, Jacob Konstanty, Lachlan McAndrew*, Logan McDonald, Hayden McLean*, Tom Papley, Sam Reid, Sam Wicks*
Midfielders: Errol Gulden, Jaiden Magor*, Justin McInerney, Callum Mills, Luke Parker, Matthew Roberts, James Rowbottom, Angus Sheldrick, Dylan Stephens, Chad Warner, Corey Warner
Rucks: Tom Hickey, Peter Ladhams, Cameron Owen*
Defenders: Nick Blakey, Braeden Campbell, Harry Cunningham, Will Edwards*, Oliver Florent, Robbie Fox*, Aaron Francis, Will Gould, Jake Lloyd, Patrick McCartin*, Tom McCartin, Lewis Melican, Caleb Mitchell, Dane Rampe, Lachlan Rankin, Marc Sheather*, Cooper Vickery
* Indicates rookie/long-term injury listed player
Ones to watch: Errol Gulden looks set for a terrific year ahead. The classy left footer has looked at home ever since his debut in 2021. With another pre-season under his belt, look for Gulden to have a breakout year, similar to that of Chad Warner in 2022. Will Gould should make his debut early this year for the Swans. The 22-year-old hard running defender was the Swans best player in the VFL last year and is out of contract at the end of 2023. Logan McDonald will be out to prove a point in 2023 after being dropped for their Grand Final in 2022.
Strengths: The Swans have a fantastic midfield, covering all bases. They have the experience of Luke Parker, the contested ball winning ability of Callum Mills, outside run of Errol Gulden, the X Factor and power of Chad Warner plus the toughness and competitive nature of James Rowbottom. All 5 of these players can hit the scoreboard regularly throughout the game. Although probably in his last year, any forward line led by Lance Franklin is an immediate headache for any defence. Papley and Heeney are both superstars and should split their time between inside 50 and the midfield this year.
Weaknesses: Although the Swans have more than serviceable ruckmen in Tom Hickey and Peter Ladhams, they simply just don’t stack up against some of the better big men in the game. Although they were top 4 in clearances in 2022, the Swans were ranked 13th in Total hitouts. Being such a young team, questions have to be asked if the Swans over-achieved in the 2022 season, they were clearly over-awed on Grand Final day against the bigger bodied Geelong side.
General thoughts: Can the Swans buck the trend of poor performing teams not making the finals the following year? Many players on their young list had career-best years in 2022 and Swans fans would be hoping that their young players continue to naturally develop. This looks set to be Buddy Franklins last year in the AFL, can he wind back the clock and kick 50+ for the year? Looking at the Sydney forward line, until Logan McDonald takes the next step in his game, a fair bit of pressure sits on Buddy’s shoulders.
Coach Pressure Gauge – 3/10. – John Longmire has a fantastic record with the Swans and exceeded many expectations in 2022. The continued development of some of the young superstars will be crucial as to where they finish in 2023. Although coming off a Grand Final, like many young sides, expect some inconsistencies in their game with their best being outstanding but their worst quite poor.
Breakout year: Will Gould
B&F Winner: Chad Warner
Callum Mills – $983,000 – Mid
Chad Warner – $785,000 – Mid
Errol Gulden – $735,00 – Mid/Fwd
Angus Sheldrick – $200,000 – Mid/Fwd
Finishing spot prediction: 9th