How does Sydney plan to attack the draft? Executive General Manager Charlie Gardiner spoke about its plans following the end of the trade period.
The Swans managed to facilitate trades for Jordan Dawson to join Adelaide and secured ruck-forward Peter Ladhams from Port Adelaide- in the process ensuring two first-round picks for 2022 and moving slightly down from Pick 12 to 16 in this years draft.
With the draft coming up next month, Gardiner spoke about what Sydney has planned at Pick 16 and beyond.
“Kinnear Beatson and Simon Dalrymple, our national recruiting manager will lead the charge on that front, we’ll get into that work over the next month or so,” he said.
“We always just want to improve, and there’s that constant discussion about ‘do you take the best player or needs’, and we think we’d like to continue to add to our midfield, bring in some young midfield talent, but we’re not wet on any particular player at the moment.
“That’ll play out over the next couple of weeks as we lead into the national draft.”
Trade period wash-up
The two key pieces of business for Sydney during the trade period were the trade of Jordan Dawson to Adelaide and the arrival of Ladhams.
With a stalemate in place over Dawson’s value, Gardiner admitted that the Swans considered letting him go to the pre-season draft.
“There was, and we discussed that internally,” he said.
“The situation with Jordan was that he wasn’t a free-agent, we’d put six years of development into him- we’re in a unique situation with the other Northern clubs, where over 70 percent of our players don’t originate from New South Wales.
“The go-home factor is relevant, and we don’t like to see really good players walk out the door. We think you need to look at each individual circumstance on its merits.
“I don’t think you can bring a blanket rule to these things, but we were conscious of that, and in the end, we thought the right thing to do by the club, moving forward was to accept the deal.
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“Did we consider putting a stake in the ground? Yes, and it’s something we’re mindful of, but ultimately we decided the right thing to do was accept Melbourne’s future first.”
The Swans were also able to strike a deal with the Power for Ladhams in the closing stages of the trade period, and Gardiner is bullish about his prospects for 2022 and beyond at the Swans.
“We think he can complement and work really closely with Tom [Hickey] over the next couple of years, and then become a genuine number one ruck for us,” he said.
“They’re difficult to find if you look back, at the top line ruckman [they] have been taken very early in the draft, or you typically have to pay a really high price.
“We’ve been able to bring in two ruckmen over the last two trade periods, which we think we’ve done reasonably well with. We’re pleased with what we’ve done over the last two years.”
A tall order
With Ladhams’ arrival comes a strong competition for spots, with Hayden McLean, Joel Amartey, Logan McDonald, and veteran Sam Reid all likely to compete for a position.
Gardiner spoke about the competition that will emerge, and what it may mean for Reid, currently out of contract.
“There will be a competition for spots- we’re really pleased with the development of Joel Amartey this year and he’ll continue to get better, Hayden McLean’s another forward who can go into the ruck, we think that those two could focus a bit more on their forward craft, and developing their skills as key forwards,” he said.
“With Sam, we’ve been really open with Sam, and he knows where he sits, we said we’d defer a decision on his future until post-trade period, so we’ll sit down over the next couple of days and work through that.”
Should Reid sign on for a 12th season, Gardiner is confident he still has something to bring to the team.
“We think he can still play a role, we’ve just gotta weigh up our list balance now, we think we’ll have three or four selections in the draft, we’ve just gotta sit down and work through that over the next few days and weeks.”
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