Taylor Adams and Brodie Grundy at Sydney training on December 4, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Ins and outs


Taylor Adams (trade, Collingwood), Caiden Cleary (No.24 draft pick, Academy), Will Green (No.16 draft pick), Brodie Grundy (trade, Melbourne), Joel Hamling (free agent, Fremantle), James Jordon (free agent, Melbourne), Indhi Kirk (Category B rookie, Academy), Patrick Snell (No.53 draft pick)


Ryan Clarke (delisted), Will Gould (delisted), Hugo Hall-Kahan (delisted), Lance Franklin (retired), Tom Hickey (retired), Paddy McCartin (retired), Cameron Owen (delisted), Lachlan Rankin (delisted), Marc Sheather (delisted), Dylan Stephens (trade, North Melbourne)

Medical room

New stand-alone skipper Callum Mills won't be sighted until the middle of the season after a severe rotator cuff tear from a Mad Monday wrestling mishap. He's a huge loss but was the only player on the sidelines during a recent match simulation, with the Swans enjoying an excellent run of pre-season health overall.

Portrait of Sydney player Callum Mills ahead of the 2024 season. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Three burning questions

Can they be a big-time contender again?
The Swans have unashamedly gone all-in on trying to win a flag in the next couple of seasons, and so they should given the make-up of their list and the Grand Final appearance in 2022. Brodie Grundy and Taylor Adams loom as key recruits to fix their stoppage weakness of last year while James Jordon and Joel Hamling add even greater depth. They have two young superstars in Errol Gulden and Chad Warner, who both are yet to play 70 games. If they can shore up their key position posts down back and in attack, they will be a team that is very hard to exploit.

Can Heeney hit the heights?
Isaac Heeney's slow start to 2023 mirrored that of the Swans and he accepted the criticism he copped. His output was far more productive from the mid-point of the year but a long way off his 49-goal All-Australian season of 2022. Heeney has the talent to be an elite player annually in the AFL and if he delivers on that expectation again this season, the Swans will have a genuine match-winner up forward.

Isaac Heeney during Sydney's training session on February 16, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Can Grundy be great once more?
The ruck issue was a significant one at Sydney last season and impacted their stoppage work. The availability of a two-time All-Australian in Grundy, therefore, was a blessing. But the soon to be 30-year-old has only played 23 AFL games in the last two seasons and his impact at Melbourne last year was minimal, especially when playing alongside Max Gawn. What an acquisition he'll be if he can get back to anywhere near his best. His pre-season has Swans insiders buoyed that will be the case but it'll still be a fascinating watch.

Peter Ladhams and Brodie Grundy during Sydney's training session on February 16, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Track watch

The three big new recruits have certainly caught the eye. Grundy has looked strong, Adams is said to be setting the standard and Jordon has impressed the coaching staff. Youngster Matt Roberts is firming for more opportunities this season, with his decision making a standout out and he's been highlighted as a defensive and midfield option. Along with Angus Sheldrick, who has bounced back from his late season injury, they could feature early in the absence of Mills. Sam Wicks is said to be providing a lot of energy up forward while There's an opportunity for a key defender to claim a spot in the team when the situation demands it and Lewis Melican is understood to be leading the charge.

Fantasy lock

If the midfield beckons for Taylor Adams (MID/FWD, $691,000), then he could be one of the value plays of the year. Adams was pushed out of Collingwood's midfield and after missing the Grand Final through injury, he hopes to be part of the Swans' engine room.

Taylor Adams during Sydney's training session on January 19, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Instant hit

It's all about the impact of the new recruits at Sydney rather than draftees and Grundy and Adams are obvious locks as new faces to be in the 23 for Opening Round and are expected to have a big impact. Jordon is understood to be a strong chance to make his club debut in the first game of the season as well. Hamling has got through the pre-season unscathed, which is promising considering his injury record, but he faces a battle to break into the team for the start of the season.

It's a big year for…

Logan McDonald has the opportunity to become the centrepiece of the Swans forward line in 2024. Sydney's attack is multi-faceted but McDonald is the No.4 draft pick stepping into his fourth season with a seemingly high ceiling on his talents. If he can take things up a level from his 32 goals kicked last year, in the first post-Buddy Franklin season at Sydney, the Swans can be a formidable force. If not, the key forward posts – as dangerous as Hayden McLean and Joel Amartey are – may be their weakness. Either way, McDonald's future will be a subject of much speculation throughout the year, with Fremantle poised to offer a massive deal.

Logan McDonald during Sydney's training session on February 16, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Pass mark

The Swans need to get back into the top four. They have their sights set on a premiership soon and can't afford another slow start like season. From the mid-point of 2023 they proved how dangerous they still are. After an aggressive off-season recruiting-wise, they're poised to prove that they are a legitimate flag contender again. You'd be foolish to write them off.

Best 23 for 2024

B: Harry Cunningham, Tom McCartin, Jake Lloyd
HB: Nick Blakey, Dane Rampe, Oliver Florent 
C: Justin McInerney, Callum Mills, Errol Gulden
HF: Tom Papley, Hayden McLean, Isaac Heeney 
F: Joel Amartey, Logan McDonald, Will Hayward
Foll: Brodie Grundy, Luke Parker, Chad Warner 
I/C: Taylor Adams, James Rowbottom, James Jordon, Braeden Campbell, Robbie Fox

Emerg: Sam Wicks, Matt Roberts, Lewis Melican