Logan McDonald celebrates a goal during the match simulation between Sydney and GWS at Tramway Oval on February 22, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

THE TWO future leaders-in-waiting of the Sydney and GWS forward lines have made strong early statements with Logan McDonald and Aaron Cadman each kicking four goals in their match simulation clash on Thursday.

It was a day out for the key forwards with Jesse Hogan bagging four for the Giants as well, as he clawed his team back into a fast-paced, high-scoring pre-season contest that Sydney ultimately prevailed in by 26 points, 16.16 (112) to 13.8 (86).


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Chad Warner was the standout for the Swans with two first-quarter goals and a typically dynamic performance through the midfield.

But it was the showing from two new recruits in ruckman Brodie Grundy and fellow former Demon James Jordon that will enthuse Swans fans the most.

Brodie Grundy in action during Sydney's match simulation against Greater Western Sydney on February 22, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Grundy clearly had the better of Giants big man Kieren Briggs across the game and made a nice statement in the second term with a towering contested mark over Jack Buckley.

The pre-season word on Jordon from the Swans has been strong all summer and you could see why with a very impressive four-quarter showing as he switched between the wing and onball.

But it was McDonald's performance at full-forward that was the biggest statement from a Swans point of view.


The former No.4 draft pick is stepping into his fourth season and with the chance to become the focal point of the Swans' forward line in the absence of the retired Lance Franklin.

He led strongly out of the goalsquare and kicked truly all day in a sign that he can elevate his game in the manner Sydney desires in 2024.

The same can be said for Cadman, who started very slowly but worked his way into the game in encouraging fashion.

While he never outplayed any of the leading Swans defenders, to finish with four goals will give the 2022 No.1 draft pick plenty of confidence that he can have an impact on the Giants' attack in his second season.


Tom Green shone after quarter-time for GWS while Sam Taylor was as resolute as usual down back.

Jacob Wehr was another to impress on the wing and will now be firmly in the frame for a spot in Opening Round in the guaranteed absence of Isaac Cumming and Harry Perryman and with Finn Callaghan fighting to be fit.

Braeden Campbell was involved all game for the Swans on a wing with his clean kicking a highlight while Will Hayward with three goals and Isaac Heeney – who moved all over the field – were crucial performers.

The Swans' win was sealed by an on-brand Nick Blakey dash and bounce out of defence that culminated with a goal and resulted in the biggest cheer of the day from the 300-odd supporters watching at Tramway Oval in Moore Park next to the SCG.

Young guns

It's a sign of how strong both sides are at present that there wasn't a heap of youngsters on show. Harvey Thomas was one to make a name for himself at GWS though with a very lively performance across half-forward. The No.59 pick from the 2023 draft has come through the Giants Academy and showed promise with his pressure work and skills, including a late goal as GWS stayed in touch with the Swans. Aaron Cadman shone in the second half as he moves into his second season while Jacob Wehr looked sharp on the wing and arguably moved himself into pole position in the battle with Ryan Angwin for an Opening Round game. Former first-round draft pick Leek Aleer showed some promise early but struggled to go with Logan McDonald when he played on him for periods. Matt Roberts has been earmarked for greater opportunities at the Swans this season and played mainly at half-back while Angus Sheldrick made a late cameo and looked strong in the contest after injury derailed his encouraging 2023 season.

Switching positions 

The interesting watch here was the starting spot for both Luke Parker and Chad Warner at half-forward. With Taylor Adams entering the midfield mix and Callum Mills to return mid-season, the Swans are pushing for their midfielders to be versatile. Parker, 31, is one who is likely to spend more time in attack while Warner and Adams will both be used there at times. Robbie Fox has been a key part of the Swans' defensive setup in recent seasons but spent a lot of time as a defensive forward. It was mainly as normal for the Giants aside from half-forward Xavier O'Halloran starting on a wing early. GWS will have a vacancy there for Opening Round with Isaac Cumming out and Finn Callaghan in doubt and although Jacob Wehr was the most impressive in that role, O'Halloran may be used there as well.

Injury watch

Both teams can breathe a huge sigh of relief that they got through the first pre-season encounter unscathed. Swans veteran Dane Rampe had a minor ankle tweak early while Joel Amartey had some lower leg discomfort late but neither were remotely serious. Errol Gulden was rested for most of the first half before joining the contest. Former Magpie Taylor Adams sat out the game purely from a management aspect and was joined on the sidelines by captain Callum Mills who won't return until mid-season. GWS skipper Toby Greene missed the clash as he awaits the birth of his first child while speedster Darcy Jones, who is likely to debut in Opening Round, also missed with soreness. Isaac Cumming and Harry Perryman won't play the first match with hamstring and quad issues, respectively, while Finn Callaghan is in doubt with a shoulder problem.

Fantasy tempters

Brodie Grundy will the man to make Fantasy coaches stand up and take notice out of this game. At $677k he showed that he may well be a value premium option early in the season. At $454k, James Jordon could be a handy bargain buy early as he looks more than likely to debut for Sydney in Opening Round and spend time onball and on the wing. Chad Warner ($837k) was superb and may be cheaper than some other blue-chip midfield options. Braeden Campbell was another who shone and with his kicking game his $589k price may tempt some. For GWS, Jacob Wehr ($436k) enhanced his chances of an Opening Round game while Harvey Thomas ($200k) may prove the ultimate cash cow if he can build on his impressive showing and make a surprise debut early. Tom Green ($998k) is a top end buy but showed again that you can't go wrong with the midfield bull.

Chad Warner in action during the match simulation between Sydney and GWS at Tramway Oval on February 22, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

SYDNEY   4.3   8.8   14.12   16.16 (112)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY   3.2   6.4   10.6   13.8 (86)

Sydney: McDonald 4, Hayward 3, Warner 2, Campbell, Papley, Amartey, Heeney, McLean, Wicks, Blakey
Greater Western Sydney: Cadman 4, Hogan 4, Angwin, Bedford, Wehr, O'Halloran, Thomas


1. Chad Warner, 2. Hayden McLean, 4. Brodie Grundy, 5. Isaac Heeney, 6. Logan McDonald, 7. Harry Cunningham, 8. James Rowbottom, 9. Will Hayward, 11. Tom Papley, 12. Angus Sheldrick, 13. Oliver Florent, 15. Sam Wicks, 16. Braeden Campbell, 17. James Jordon, 19. Peter Ladhams, 21. Errol Gulden, 22. Nick Blakey, 24. Dane Rampe, 26. Luke Parker, 27. Justin McInerney, 28. Will Edwards, 30. Tom McCartin, 34. Matt Roberts, 36. Joel Amartey, 42. Robbie Fox, 44. Jake Lloyd

Notable absentees: Taylor Adams, Sam Reid, Callum Mills, Joel Hamling, Aaron Francis, Lewis Melican


3. Stephen Coniglio, 5. Aaron Cadman, 6. Lachie Whitfield, 7. Lachie Ash, 8. Callan Ward, 9. Ryan Angwin, 10. Jacob Wehr, 12. Tom Green, 14. Toby Bedford, 15. Sam Taylor, 16. Brent Daniels, 21. Leek Aleer, 22. Josh Kelly, 23. Jesse Hogan, 25. Lachlan Keeffe, 26. Jake Riccardi, 27. Harry Himmelberg, 28. Harvey Thomas, 31. Toby McMullin, 32. Kieren Briggs, 33. Xavier O’Halloran, 34. Josh Fahey, 39. Connor Idun, 44. Jack Buckley, 46. Callum Brown 

Notable absentees: Toby Greene, Nick Haynes, Adam Kennedy, Harry Perryman, Isaac Cumming, Braydon Preuss, Finn Callaghan, Darcy Jones