Brodie Grundy and Chad Warner celebrate a goal during the match sim between Sydney and GWS at Tramway Oval on February 21, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

SYDNEY has admitted that several of its star midfielders will need to spend more time at half-forward this season amid a squeeze for spots.

Three-time best and fairest winner Luke Parker and young gun Chad Warner started on the flanks in the match simulation win over Greater Western Sydney on Thursday, with Warner kicking two first-quarter goals before dominating in the engine room for the majority of the next three quarters.

Parker operated up forward - a position he has played in before - for longer, and looks set to feature there more often this season after the acquisitions of Taylor Adams and James Jordon along with the mid-season return of captain Callum Mills.

"All our midfielders need to be flexible because of the depth we've got there and the talent," Swans assistant coach Mark McVeigh said after the 26-point win.

"'Parksy's been a wonderful player for a long period of time and what has made him great is he's not a one-position player, he can play forward as well so we've got to utilise that strength when we need to.

"When he needs the opportunity to go inside, Chad (Warner) can go there, Taylor (Adams) can play there as well he's done that role at Collingwood."

Chad Warner evades Stephen Coniglio and Kieren Briggs during the match sim between Sydney and GWS at Tramway Oval on February 21, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

The midfield to half-forward rotations at the Swans will likely provide some unpredictability in attack but what is clear is that Logan McDonald is now very much the main big man inside attacking 50.

The Bunbury product kicked four goals in the win over the Giants in a confidence-building outing  as the Swans begin the post Buddy Franklin era.

"Not surprised in that, his pre-season form has been really good," McVeigh said.

"Just to see him put scoreboard pressure on the opposition is really good to see. With a new structure in our forward line with one of the greats in Buddy Franklin retiring it gives him the chance to hit the scoreboard more and he did that."


It was a day for young forwards to shine and there was a statement made at the other end of the ground with 2022 No.1 draft pick Aaron Cadman also kicking four goals.

After only booting six goals in his 12 AFL games last season, it was an indication that he's ready to take things up a level in 2024, especially after struggling to get into the game early.

"He's developed over the summer and put on a bit of size," said Giants assistant coach Jeremy Laidler.

"It's just a great learning curve for him. It wasn't just him (that struggled) in the first half for our key forwards. I thought we addressed that quite well."


Along with the young key forwards, the big watch at Moore Park was seeing the big-name Swans recruits in action for the first time in their new colours.

Jordon was in sharp touch from the outset through the midfield while Brodie Grundy's performance against Kieren Briggs provided a strong sign that the Swans have rectified their ruck deficiency from 2023.

"Really important. Grundy did some really good things today not only with his ruckwork but around the ground. Jordon on the wing and going inside at times was really good. They're really fit and firing," McVeigh said.

Nick Blakey's performance was a standout as well and provides the Swans with an option to use him more regularly as the third key back alongside Tom McCartin and Dane Rampe, in a role he executed superbly last season when Sydney was hit with key defensive injuries.

Nick Blakey in action during the match sim between Sydney and GWS at Tramway Oval on February 21, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"Today we got a good look at that, to see Blakey play on (Jesse) Hogan and (Jake) Riccardi at times was really pleasing. The flexibility he provides allows other mixes to happen and today we got a glimpse of that," McVeigh said.

Giants wingman Jacob Wehr was one of the players to emerge out of the game and stake his claim for an Opening Round spot at GWS.

With Isaac Cumming and Harry Perryman ruled out and Finn Callaghan battling for fitness, a wing spot is up for grabs at the Giants and Wehr may have moved to the top of the queue with a slick performance.

"It was pleasing to see Jacob play the way he wanted to," Laidler said.

"It also puts pressure on them for when they're back. We can't just allow the wingers to cruise back in. It does put competition on the wing spot."