WHILE we wait for play to resume, and with the little bit of knowledge we've gleaned from round one, we're taking this opportunity to put the microscope on every club.
THE PRESSURE GAUGE Which coach is under the most heat?
This is Sydney's Shutdown Report Card. >> LISTEN IN THE PLAYER BELOW
The biggest lesson from round one was…
Sam Naismith has been out of sight and out of mind. As the Swans' tallest ruck option, Naismith returned to the senior side against the Crows in round one having not played at senior level since 2017. Now behind his knee injuries, the 27-year-old was excellent in the win over Adelaide, having 28 hitouts and 11 disposals and outplaying opponent Reilly O'Brien.
What's their weapon in 2020?
If the Swans are to rise up the ladder, it will come from a core of younger players who have now had a strong apprenticeship at the level. Sydney is the third-youngest list in the AFL, but will be relying on the likes of Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills, Will Hayward, Ollie Florent, Jordan Dawson, Tom Papley, Tom McCartin and Nick Blakey to lift them into top-eight contention. All of that group are senior regulars aged 23 or under.
What could be their downfall?
There is still a reliance on Lance Franklin for goals. It's a reality that when you have the competition's most brilliant key forward at your disposal that the Swans would look to him regularly, but the club has to plan for life after 'Buddy'. His injuries over the past 12 months have allowed them to look into that window but they haven't yet found a key forward who proven to be a regular goalkicking option. He kicked 27 goals from 10 games last year. Callum Sinclair can play as a forward option but turns 31 this year so the club will be searching for its next wave.
Who missed out on round one and what does it mean for them?
The Swans' young breed of midfield options forced George Hewett and Ryan Clarke out of the starting side against the Crows. Hewett was a surprise but the club said he was a little undone – he finished second in the club's best and fairest last year. Robbie Fox was also left out, as was Sinclair. Last year's No.5 draft choice Dylan Stephens didn't get a round one debut but looks likely to feature prominently in his first season with the club on a wing. The Swans will also be hoping fellow first-round pick Matt Ling can break through this year.
Which players benefit from the break?
Franklin is the obvious one here. The champion forward had enjoyed a strong start to his pre-season until January, when he underwent a knee arthroscope. He was expected to miss at least the first month of the home and away season if games had gone ahead as scheduled, but the time on the sidelines due to the COVID-19 threat should have the 33-year-old ready to play upon resumption. Lewis Melican (hamstring) will also be available then.
Who looked set for a breakout season?
It was the performance of Heeney in round one that turned heads. Heeney turns 24 next month and has played 103 games, but looks ready to propel himself into the top echelon of the competition judging by his best-afield game against Adelaide. Heeney kicked four goals from 16 disposals and five marks, and was potent inside-50. There will continue to be a debate around his midfield/forward split, but games like that highlight the value of Heeney playing predominantly in attack.
All eyes will again be on the Swans in the off-season. Will they again be in the market for Essendon spearhead Joe Daniher? This time they won't have to trade for him, unless the Bombers match an offer for the free agent. Papley is contracted until the end of 2023, but after his request to be traded to Carlton failed last year, will he again look for a move? Co-captain Josh Kennedy falls out of contract this year, with Hewett, Ling, Melican and Ben Ronke among the other players without deals beyond 2020.