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Sydney Swans champion Jarrad Mcveigh

AFL season preview: Sydney Swans

Most teams have rebuilds that last several seasons, not the Sydney Swans.

The Bloods instead chose to have their little rebuild across the span of six games in 2017, losing every single one of them and plummeting to the bottom of the AFL ladder.

Amazingly, the club would only lose twice more in the regular season and charged into the finals where many regarded them as a serious premiership threat once more.

The Swans ran out of gas, though, ultimately falling to Geelong in the semi-finals. But what this showed is that Sydney's little wobble was brief and this club remains as lethal as ever.

Sydney couldn't have asked for a kinder draw either, with only one trip to Western Australia (in round one) and zero trips to South Australia. 

Only Brisbane has debuted more players than Sydney in the last two years but this is a club that knows how to stay on top.

John Longmire now has a roster rich with experience and youth that has been tried at AFL level.

And any side with Lance Franklin in its forward line will always be a premiership threat.

Expect the Sydney Swans to be a dominant force again in 2018.

The key player for the Sydney Swans

It would be easy to pick Buddy, but you know what you are going to get every week with the star forward.

But Jarrad McVeigh is a critical cog in the Sydney Swans push for premiership glory in 2018.

It is no coincidence that his injury concerns at the start of 2017 played a role in the 0-6 start and the 32-year-old is not getting any younger.

Again, he has a calf injury and is in doubt for round one - although he is pushing for a start.

Keeping the club champion on the park is going to play a key role in how far the Swans go.

Needs to lift

The ruck spot is potentially the only weakness the Sydney Swans have.

Callum Sinclair will be required to do the bulk of the work after the retirement of Kurt Tippett, the departure of Toby Nankervis to Richmond prior to last season and an ACL injury to Sam Naismith.

To make matters worse, Sinclair rolled his ankle in preseason and is in doubt for round one, along with one of his backup options Aliir Aliir.

The big man stocks are low at Sydney and Sinclair will have to come back firing when his ankle is right again.

The new recruit

Not a lot of movement at the trade table, but draftee Matthew Ling stands out as a star of the future.

The club has locked the 18-year-old in until 2020 and regard the half-back as a big name moving forward.

The Sydney Swans are unlikely to blood him too early, but we could get a glimpse at Ling in 2018 depending on injuries and how the season is playing out.

The x-factor

Any excuse to share a Buddy Franklin highlight reel.

No other player in the AFL possesses the rare strength and skill that this man does.

When the Swans star is on fire, he is undefendable, unstoppable.

Even if the rest of the team starts to fall flat you can rely on Buddy to take matters into his own hands.

As long as he is in this team, the Swans will always be a threat.

Ins: Joel Amartey, James Bell, Jake Brown, Matthew Ling, Tom McCartin, Ryley Stoddart, Angus Styles

Outs: Shaun Edwards, Brandon Jack, Jeremy Laidler, Tyrone Leonardis, Sam Murray, Sam Reid, Michael Talia

Predicted finish: 2nd

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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