The Sydney Swans finally get their man in Peter Ladhams after securing him with a first round pick swap as well as a future third round draft selection in the 2021 AFL trade period.
Talks of the Swans’ interest in Ladhams first began in 2020 when the Swans were desperate for a senior ruckman.
The time and patience invested into Sam Naismith has unfortunately not gone the way anyone would have hoped. Injuries have kept the Swans ruckman limited to two games in the last four seasons.
In that time, Callum Sinclair has selflessly adopted the full-time ruck role after joining the club in 2015 as an extra tall forward that could provide ruck relief.
Port Adelaide weren’t open to letting Ladhams last year, and as a result, the Swans poached Tom Hickey from the West Coast Eagles.
The Hickey trade didn’t inspire with the Swans fans with much confidence initially, but he filled a much needed role. As fate would have it, Hickey had his best season in the AFL to date.
Despite Hickey’s impressive season, the Swans need someone they can rely on long term, and at 23 years of age, Peter Ladhams is that man.
The progression of Ladhams
Peter Ladhams was drafted from SANFL side Norwood with the ninth pick in the 2017 rookie draft. As most big men of the competition do, it took some time for Ladhams to get his first AFL call up.
Ladhams finished the 2019 season with five senior games to his name as Port fans became excited with the potential that was shown. In a year that saw the Magpies get to a grand final, Ladhams finished runner in the best and fairest count for Port Adelaide’s SANFL side.
Further development was made in 2020 when Ladhams added 10 games to his tally and this season he became a regular.
For a big man, Ladhams shows an impressive amount of intelligence and agility at ground level. Port Adelaide coaches were impressed with his ability to accumulate possessions as well as his follow up ruck work and has been described as an extra midfielder.
Why Ladhams left the Power
Peter Ladhams is a pure ruckman that has been playing backup to premiership player, Scott Lycett, at the Power. Ladhams believes he is ready to become a first choice ruckman and the Power see now as the right time to cash in.
Port Adelaide have recognised Ladhams is too valuable to remain in the role he had in their side. Scott Lycett has a few years left in him at the Power, and won’t be moved on anytime soon.
The Power also highly rate Sam Hayes. The young ruckman is expected to receive a senior opportunity in the near future. Port has also recruited Jeremy Finlayson, who is open to playing as a relief ruckman whilst remaining predominantly forward.
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How does Ladhams fit into the Swans’ 22?
Peter Ladhams will immediately challenge Tom Hickey for the starting ruck position. Ladhams’ primary focus in pre-season training will be to get the nod come round one.
Either way, the most probable outcome will see both ruckman in the side. Ladhams and Hickey have both shown capabilities of playing forward as well ruck throughout their careers.
The pair will work in tandem in 2022 between the forward and ruck positions. Given Hickey’s age and recent injury history, it unlikely that he will play every game of a full season.
There will be opportunities for Ladhams to perform as a sole ruck with the likes of Hayden McLean and Joel Amartey options to play a ruck relief role in the Swans’ forward line.
When Hickey eventually hangs the boots up, Ladhams will expect to take full reins of the position for the foreseeable future.
The recruitment of Ladhams should see the Swans line up with three tall forwards. Lance Franklin remains the star man of the Swans forward line as Logan McDonald furthers his development. McLean and Amartey also provide strong quality depth.
The trade comes at an ideal period for both club, with Port not being able to give Ladhams the role he wants and the Swans needing a long-term ruck solution.
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