Few would have predicted Sydney to make the top 8 in 2021, but as it stands, they are with an 8-5 record going into the bye, staring at a September return.

A finals return being on the cards is not what many would have predicted for the Swans in 2021. Picture: sydneyswans.com.au

Few would have predicted Sydney to make the top 8 in 2021, but staring at a September return is their 8-5 record good enough?

As we hit the bye rounds in the AFL season, The Inner Sanctum will be conducting our mid-season reviews of all 18 clubs and assessing the first half of the season and what fortunes may lie ahead.

Up next, Sydney Swans.


Few would have predicted Sydney to make the top 8 in 2021, but as it stands, they are with an 8-5 record going into the bye, pushing for a return to September.

What Worked:

In 2021, Sydney has been spearheaded by a new game style introduced by coach John Longmire and influenced by new assistant coach Don Pyke. With it in tow, the Swans had a blistering start to the season that had football pundits scratching their heads.

On the back of that, Sydney came away with the first three rising star nominations in succession in Errol Gulden, Braeden Campbell, and Chad Warner.

And the recruitment of former West Coast ruck Tom Hickey has been one of the best of the season, with Hickey crucial to Sydney’s finals push.

What Hasn’t

Sydney’s two worst performances of the year have come in games they really should have won.

The Swans were made to look second rate against Gold Coast and Hawthorn.

And while Sydney is more composed than last year, they have dropped two games through moments they would want back against both Fremantle and GWS.

All up, four out of their five losses have come at the hands of bottom 10 sides, which may prove costly down the line.

More AFL Mid-Season Reviews

AFL Mid-Season Review: Brisbane Lions

AFL Mid-Season Review: Carlton

AFL Mid-Season Review: Fremantle

Best and Fairest (Bob Skilton Medal) Contenders.

Callum Mills finally moved into the midfield for Sydney in 2021, And the move is paying immediate dividends.

Mills is averaging 26 disposals (11 contested) five tackles, and four clearances a game.

Meanwhile, co-captain Luke Parker has been quietly amassing an impressive season.

Parker is averaging 27 disposals, (12 contested) and five clearances. And, a sign of his continued brilliance, he has not registered less than 20 disposals all season.

Who needs to lift?

In and out of the side in the first half of the year, Nick Blakey finds himself on the outer again.

Blakey has been dropped twice already, and served as the medical sub against Melbourne.

Will Hayward is one who has worked his way back into the team this year and Nick Blakey must now do the same.

Expectations for the second half of the year

If not for a down performance on Friday night, Sydney would have stamped their ticket to finals. However, the bye has come at a perfect time for Sydney, with young bodies in need of a rest.

With three consecutive top 8 rivals to come (Port Adelaide, West Coast, Western Bulldogs) Sydney may rue the poor performances. But with a smooth run from there, Sydney’s finals chances remain in their own hands… for now.

Predicted finish.


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