SYDNEY has begun preparing for life after Jarrad McVeigh with the club selecting Geelong Falcons youngster Matthew Ling with its first pick at Friday's NAB AFL Draft.
Ling, a running defender with line-breaking speed, who uses the ball well, joined the Swans after being taken with selection No.14.
With McVeigh entering what is likely to be his final year of footy next season and gun youngster Callum Mills expected to move into the midfield in 2018, Ling looms as a likely prospect for the future across half-back.
Swans recruiting guru Kinnear Beatson said Ling wasn't specifically drafted to replace McVeigh, but his pace and foot skills help fill a gap at the Bloods.
"It's an area that we're a little bit deficient in and we've been tracking him throughout the year, and thought he's just got better and better," he said.
"During the finals series he had a couple of ripping games.
"We're pretty good on the inside but since we lost 'Jetts' (Lewis Jetta) it's been something we needed to address."
The Swans also strengthened their tall forward stocks after drafting Ling's Falcons teammate Tom McCartin, the brother of St Kilda's Paddy, with their second pick at No.33 overall.
McCartin is unlikely to see much senior action next year with superstar Lance Franklin and Sam Reid the club's two best options, with Kurt Tippett and Callum Sinclair also on the list, but there's little doubt he will develop quickly alongside his new teammates.
The game's goalkicking record holder Tony Lockett, who began working with Sydney's forwards this season, will also wield his influence on McCartin.
"We were really keen to get Tommy and we couldn't get his name out quick enough, he's only a kid but plays with some real presence as a key forward," Beatson said.
"That was another priority for us, and if we could get another key forward to work with 'Buddy' and 'Reidy', we were really keen to do that."
The Swans also grabbed another speedy small defender in Riley Stoddart with pick No.53, a player who adds more quality foot skills to the list.
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