ISAAC Heeney will spend more time in the midfield next year as Sydney looks to make the most of his elite talents while refreshing its forward set-up.
The versatile Heeney kicked a career-high 36 goals this year but is set to train with the midfield group over the pre-season as he gets his body in shape to have a similar impact around the field.
The 25-year-old started the season lining up deep in the Swans' forward half as he recovered from a serious ankle injury that restricted him to six matches last year and limited his pre-season.
Heeney still managed to kick three or more goals in eight of his 21 matches and booted four majors in the second half of the Swans' elimination final to almost drag his team across the line.
"Isaac at the back end of this year was able to play midfield and then push forward and still hit the scoreboard. That'll be an important part of his plan over the summer, to prepare to play that midfield-forward role even more," coach John Longmire told AFL.com.au.
"We were hoping that as this year progressed we could get Isaac's training loads right to allow him to do that. Now we'll work on that balance over the pre-season because he can be really damaging, which he showed in the last four or five games this year.
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"He's had some pretty serious injuries over the journey and not through his own doing, he's just had a bad run. He's a real pro the way he prepares.
"His great ability is he can play midfield, he can push forward and he can hit the scoreboard. He kicked 36 goals this year and we think he can still do that even with the evolution of him playing more midfield minutes as well."
The Swans preferred to line up with two tall forwards in the latter half of this season but with the high-flying Heeney set to spend more time in the midfield will look to add more aerial power to their set-up.
Forward-ruck Hayden McLean emerged to play 12 matches including the elimination final and Joel Amartey also showed some promising signs this season, while veteran Sam Reid will hope for better luck with injury if he extends his stay at the Swans.
But Longmire is expecting Logan McDonald to be one of the key forwards to step up and support Lance Franklin in a new-look forward line.
The No.4 pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft kicked nine goals in seven matches and has now recovered from a fractured cheekbone that he sustained late in the season.
"We'd like to be able to introduce Logan a bit more alongside Lance next year," Longmire said.
"We think the growth for him to come into the team is there and quite significant as well. If we can bring Logan into the team, Isaac can play a bit more midfield and vice versa."
The Swans will also be hoping Franklin can build on his return to form and fitness this year, where he played 18 matches and kicked 51 goals after being sidelined for all of 2020.
The superstar forward followed a personalised program that focused on core and leg strength and stability, with extra time allowed for recovery as needed throughout the season.
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The 34-year-old will follow a similar training regime this pre-season and heading into the final season of the nine-year deal he signed when joining the Swans at the end of 2013.
"Lance was able to train on Tuesdays, our main training session, more than he ever has really since he's been at the club. The ability for him to be able to train twice a week, not just once a week, was a credit to him and the medical staff," Longmire said.
"We're obviously hopeful that he's able to have another pre-season like he did last year where he worked really hard on his body, got it really strong and that allowed him to train more.
"We're confident that he can continue on the same path for next year to get himself right. He's still clearly a very important player for us."