Emerging Sydney AFL star Isaac Heeney admits he was “cooked” two months ago and coach John Longmire made a good call to drop him.
The positive impressions Heeney generated in his first year were reinforced by a strong start to 2016 as he continued to play mostly at key forward despite being recruited as a middfielder.
But, after his first five-goal haul against Essendon in round seven, Heeney kicked only three goals in his next seven games and tallied just six and four possessions in the last two.
A week’s rest and a 29-possession game in the NEAFL the following week put 20-year-old Heeney back on track and he has played with great zest and vigour in the six games since his recall.
“I just needed that break in mid-year,” Heeney told AAP.
“I was just mentally and physically was cooked and I’ll admit it happens.
“I did hit that little bit of a slump, so Horse (Longmire) gave me a week off and then one week in the reserves to come back and find some form.
“I came back rejuvenated and I’m feeling good, feeling fresh, as fresh as you’ll ever be at the end of the season.”
Minor premiers Sydney head into the finals on the back of six straight wins and Heeney admits the Swans are not particularly happy about the league’s one-week break.
“I don’t think many of the boys are happy about it,” he said.
“But we’ll take it as it comes, freshen up and take this form into the finals.”
Kurt Tippett’s recent return from injury has had a positive spin-off for Heeney, as it gives opposing defences another attacking threat to worry about.
“Tippo comes in and I get the next defender after him, so I’m stoked about that and it frees me up a little bit,” Heeney said.
Heeney even turned up in Sydney’s back half on occasions in last Saturday’s 113-point rout of Richmond.
“I haven’t played down back all year, but I think my running ability allows me to cover that outlet and I was able to get a few touches in the backline and the backline loves that.”