ST KILDA champion Lenny Hayes could have played out his magnificent career with the Sydney Swans if discussions at the end of his debut season had led to a trade.

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Hayes, who will retire at the end of the 2014 season, was a product of New South Wales but the Swans overlooked him at the 1998 National Draft in favour of two-time premiership midfielder Jude Bolton.

Former St Kilda coach Tim Watson, who was in charge at the end of 1999, said the idea of trading Hayes for Bolton had been floated by the clubs, with Bolton hailing from Victoria.

"At the end of the first year there were discussions [with] Sydney, with the potential to swap Lenny for Jude Bolton," Watson told radio station SEN.

"One was a Melbourne boy and one was a Sydney boy, but they were both great players, so nobody would have lost."

Bolton was recruited with pick No.8 in the 1998 draft - three selections ahead of Hayes – and went on to play 325 games for the Swans before retiring at the end of last season.

He set game records for tackling and contested possessions and when he retired he had laid more tackles than any other AFL player.

Bolton, however, did not win a club best and fairest and did not make an All-Australian team.

Hayes is a three-time All-Australian and three-time club champion.