SPECULATION about his future is nothing new for Jarrad McVeigh, not that the Sydney veteran gives it a second thought as he prepares for his 17th AFL season. 

He'll turn 34 in April and has played on one-year contracts for the past two seasons, so McVeigh understands the end date of his outstanding career is a talking point. 

He just has no interest in putting any effort into anything other than his 2019 preparation. 

Taken with pick No.5 in the 2002 draft, McVeigh is one of only three players left from that class along with Collingwood's Daniel Wells (pick No.2) and Carlton's Kade Simpson (45). 

The dual club champion's 319 games are the third-most in Swans history behind his good friends Adam Goodes (372) and Jude Bolton (325), but early last season he looked zero chance of leapfrogging Bolton when his coach John Longmire declared on radio that McVeigh wasn't playing on in 2019. 

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But McVeigh's form last year – when he averaged 21.1 possessions at 82 per cent efficiency in 19 games, was ranked fourth for metres gained and finish eighth in the best and fairest – forced Longmire into a rethink. 

McVeigh told AFL.com.au his relationship with the coach was extremely strong and open, but they haven't spoken about 2020 at all.

"Those questions will always come (from the media), but that works itself out towards the back-end of the year or whenever that might be," he said. 

"I'm just focused on having my best year ever and that’s all I've ever tried to do. 

"I feel good at the moment, it's always nice to train hard and train well because that usually leads into a pretty good season.

"The number of games I've played doesn't bother me at all. It's all about how many games we're winning and how many premierships you get. 

"The older guys I played with taught me so much and hopefully I'm doing the same thing to our kids coming through now."

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New rules regarding the use of runners in the AFL could work favourably for experienced stars like McVeigh and Brisbane's Luke Hodge, who are widely regarded as two of the game's most intelligent leaders, and are seen as extra coaches on the ground.

From this season, team runners can only deliver messages to players on the field once a goal has been kicked and must be off the field before the game restarts, placing more responsibility on the 18 players on the ground to keep their positions and set-ups organised. 

"To be able to see things that we can switch to work in our favour like match-ups will be a big plus for us," McVeigh said. 

"That’s the way footy is going, you need to be able to read the game and make your own decisions on the field and back yourself in.

"They might be wrong but that’s fine, the coaches will back you in as well." 

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McVeigh also sees major changes happening before the players even take the field during the year, and believes things are already shifting after the players were given more time off over this year's Christmas break. 

The future of summer training will see more responsibility given to players to prepare themselves, according to McVeigh, with mandatory pre-season sessions with the rest of the squad not starting until January. 

"The onus will be on the players during that pre-Christmas period because they'll have to hit the ground running," he said.

"The NFL do it that way, their teams have their training camps and they're straight into playing games. 

"We have the longest pre-seasons in world sport and it's pretty taxing on the body. 

"I think that longer break would keep the players fresh and ready to go, rather than slogging it out for months and months over summer.

"I think that’s where it's heading, and I think the players would be all for it.

"You'd have to be self-motivated and push yourself when nobody is watching you, and it'll catch some players out, but you'll see the guys who really want to have a successful career."