SYDNEY has held preliminary talks with Isaac Heeney about extending his future at the club, as the Swans look to take their star prospect off the market before he hits free agency next season.

Heeney is expected to be one of the AFL's most wanted free agents in 2022, with Sydney football boss Charlie Gardiner and the player's manager, Ben Williams, expected to sit down for more extensive conversations over the Christmas period.

The 25-year-old has emerged as one of the club's most important and versatile players, spearheading the Swans' rapid resurgence back into the finals picture this season with a career best 36-goal campaign.

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His last contract, a five-year extension inked in 2016, is due to expire in 2022. However, Sydney list manager Kinnear Beatson has revealed talks are already underway to ensure the club's Academy graduate remains in Swans colours long into the future.

"Our GM of footy, Charlie Gardiner, has opened up those conversations with Isaac's manager about a contract extension," Beatson told AFL.com.au's Draft Countdown earlier this week.

"I'm not exactly sure where that's at, because we've only just got back to training [this week], but we'd be hopeful of being able to retain Isaac. We understand he will be one of the more highly sought-after free agents, if it got to that stage."

Sydney recruiting boss Kinnear Beatson at the 2021 NAB AFL Draft. Picture: AFL Photos

North Melbourne tabled a significant offer for Heeney before he re-signed with Sydney in 2016, with the star forward expected to attract interest from rival clubs once again should he remain uncontracted heading into his free agency season.

"It's all very preliminary," Heeney's manager Williams told Draft Countdown.

"Obviously, I haven't been able to sit down face-to-face with Charlie for months. I think we'll try and do that sometime after the draft period or even after the Christmas break and have a bit more of a lengthy discussion.

"But, at the moment, things have been very preliminary."

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Heeney has played 129 games across seven years for Sydney since he was recruited to the club as a first-round draft pick in 2014, kicking 148 goals.