A DRAFT week visit to Melbourne from coach John Longmire shows just how eager Sydney were to bring Oliver Florent to the club.
In the lead up to this year's NAB AFL draft, Florent's manager Paul Connors had made it quietly known to recruiters that the gun midfielder was keen to stay in Victoria, but the Swans have backed their famed culture to help the teenager thrive in the harbor city, despite a year of personal tragedy.
The Sandringham Dragon lost his father to bowel cancer earlier this year, so it's hardly surprising that home is where he'd like to stay to begin his AFL career.
But Longmire's trip to have lunch with Florent showed the Swans' intent, and they landed the onballer with their first pick, and selection No.11 overall.
Florent brings quality skills and speed to the Swans, and could have sealed the club's interest when he was best on ground in the NAB All Stars match during Grand Final week.
Swans recruiting boss Kinnear Beatson told AFL.com.au that he was rapt to get someone of Florent's character to Sydney.
"Oliver has had a hell of a year which has been well documented but the way he's handled himself just speaks volumes about his mental toughness," he said.
"We went and met Oliver and his mother Rachel and had a good chat about things, and they were happy for him to come to Sydney.
"We're really pleased, it went really well."
Last year's Grand Finalists also selected South Australian Will Hayward (No.20), key defender Jack Maibaum (No.45), and ruckman Darcy Cameron (No.48) to round off their haul.
Selection No.11 – Oliver Florent
Kinnear Beatson says: "He's got the ability to play as a hybrid mid that can rotate through as an inside onballer, and he can also play as a half forward who kicks goals."
Selection No.20 – Will Hayward
Kinnear Beatson says: "Will came on really well late in the year, and his finals series for North Adelaide in the under 18's was quite spectacular as a medium forward. We challenged him in an interview during the year about his endurance and we were pleased to hear that as soon as he left he'd organised a personal trainer. It told us how much he wanted to be drafted."
Selection No.45 – Jack Maibaum
Kinnear Beatson says: "We wanted to bolster our key position stocks, which is why we took Jack. He can play at both ends of the ground but was named All Australian for Vic Metro this year as a defender, and we're really pleased with the way he goes about it."
Selection No.48 – Darcy Cameron
Kinnear Beatson says: "With Toby (Nankervis) going to Richmond, we were keen to get a tall player in who could play ruck and forward, and like a lot of ruckman, he's taken a while to come along, but I think the change out of Western Australia will be good for him."