Will Hayward celebrates a goal during Sydney's clash against Greater Western Sydney in round eight, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

SYDNEY will bring back star defender Tom McCartin for Sunday's clash against Geelong as coach John Longmire hailed the re-signing of forward Will Hayward.

It's a double boost for a Sydney side that is a game-and-a-half clear on the top of the ladder ahead of a home match-up with the third-placed Cats.

Hayward's re-signing is another critical moment for Sydney in their premiership push, joining Errol Gulden, Ollie Florent, James Rowbottom and Lewis Melican in signing new deals this season.

Will Hayward celebrates a goal during round 10, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

"We're absolutely thrilled. We were always confident but until you get the deal done, you're not 100 per cent certain," Longmire said.

"Not only as a player but importantly as a person. He's a high-quality person.

"From the moment he and Ollie were drafted, to see them come into the club as 18-year-olds and then see them both commit long term to the club is one of the real thrills as a coach.

"We're really pleased to have a large group that's re-signed."

Will Hayward during Sydney's training at the SCG on July 19, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

As reported on Gettable last month, Carlton had put a six-year offer in front of Hayward to move to Victoria before the Swans upped their offer from four years to five.

Both South Australian clubs had also reportedly shown an interest in luring Hayward home.

But the Swans were always comfortable that he never wanted to leave.

They just needed to satisfy the 25-year-old, who is in the midst of arguably his best season with 22 goals in 11 games and leads the club for tackles inside forward 50.

"He wanted to stay, so then it's just a matter of making sure we got the deal done. We didn't take it for granted, we know what's out there and offers that get floated around," Longmire said.

Will Hayward and Isaac Quaynor during Sydney's match against Collingwood in R1, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"His football this year has been fantastic, Will. His pressure and what he does off the ball is as important as what he does on the ball."

Hayward's deal leaves just forward Logan McDonald as the big out-of-contract watch at Sydney this year.

Superstar midfielder Chad Warner's deal expires at the end of next year and he has reportedly put contract talks on hold, but his coach isn't concerned.

"He's 18 months away from running out of contract so let's not jump the gun too much. We'll move through it. We're confident, but 18 months away there's still a bit of time," Longmire said.


McCartin's recall is a relief after the gun back man missed three weeks with concussion symptoms, following a lengthy spell out last season with the same issue.

"He's been training the last couple of weeks, so we expect him to come in. That'd be terrific," Longmire said.

McCartin will likely take the place of Aaron Francis down back, while Robbie Fox is not yet ready to return from a shoulder injury suffered in round ten against Carlton.

John Longmire and Tom McCartin during Sydney's training session at the SCG on May 21, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

With Luke Parker suspended for six weeks from a head hit in the VFL, the speculation over his place in the side will cease for a while. But the talk around captain Callum Mills will increase as he edges closer to his first game of the season.

"His shoulder is good. He needs a good training block so he’s still a few weeks away from playing," Longmire said.

The Swans are searching for an eighth straight victory coming off their second bye of the year against a Cats side still sitting in the top four despite only ending a four-game losing streak at home to lowly Richmond last week.

"It's a big game. The Cats are always around about the mark. They've got superstars all over the ground. They're a well-coached, well led footy club and we look forward those challenges in front of what we hope is a big, big crowd here on Sunday," Longmire said.