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Swans recruit ready to fill vacant Hannebery role

Isaac Heeney (left) with new teammate Ryan Clarke. Picture: @sydneyswans Twitter - AFL,Sydney Swans,Ryan Clarke,Trade
Isaac Heeney (left) with new teammate Ryan Clarke. Picture: @sydneyswans Twitter

SYDNEY recruit Ryan Clarke has set himself to step into the role vacated by Dan Hannebery in the Swans' powerful midfield brigade in 2019. 

Clarke, who arrived in Sydney from North Melbourne during last month's NAB AFL Trade Period, played predominantly in defence in his 19 matches this year, but the natural onballer wants to get back up the ground at his new club. 

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Hannebery left some massive boots to fill when the three-time All Australian and premiership winner headed to St Kilda during the Trade Period, but Clarke has already made it known he wants the opportunity to take his spot on the wing or as an inside midfielder.

The Swans' younger players returned for their first session of the new season on Monday, and Clarke said he plans to use his new teammates, like captain Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Isaac Heeney, to help him achieve his goal. 

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"My target is to play in the ones and play in the midfield so that’s something I'll have a crack at," he said. 

"There's some superstars of the modern game in the Swans' midfield so I'm really looking forward to getting started (with them), and I'm going to try and soak up as much information as I can.

"I had some really good midfielders like Shaun Higgins and Ben Cunnington to learn from at North Melbourne. 

"I'm also looking forward to adding a few more strings to my bow, like consistency, getting a bit better on the inside, and adding some polish on the outside. 

"I'm going to (do a) fair bit of work with Kennedy and see how he attacks the contested ball."

The former Kangaroo arrived in Sydney last week but checked out the fixture to see when he can meet his old teammates on the field next year.

"It's round nine down in Hobart," he said with a grin. 

"But I'm not looking that far forward, round one is my goal so I'm not looking past that."

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Former Cat Jackson Thurlow also returned to the track on Monday - a fortnight earlier than he was supposed to – after also landing at the Swans during the Trade Period.

The 24-year-old is hoping his new environment brings him the same success he's seen over the years from recycled players like Kennedy, Ted Richards, Rhyce Shaw and Marty Mattner at the Swans, and his ex-Geelong teammates around the competition. 

 

"You hear about the culture and the way this footy club has been built over the past 20 or 30 years, it's a real powerhouse," he said. 

"The other thing you hear from the outside is that the Swans have got a real knack for investing in good people, so coming to the club you know you're going to be surrounded those sorts of people. 

"Plus, a lot of guys that have left Geelong in recent years have all had some really good success. 

"Nathan Vardy left (for West Coast) and he won a flag, Josh Caddy left (for Richmond) and he won a flag, and even Joel Hamling left (for the Western Bulldogs) and he won a flag.

"It's a credit to Geelong for the way they've built their footy club as well, so I think coming here can help develop me even more."

Jackson Thurlow (left) with Tom Papley. Picture: @sydneyswans Twitter