Swans AFL kids waiting for midfield crack

They arrived as midfielders, but three young stars are excelling while serving their AFL apprenticeships in other areas and waiting for a chance among Sydney’s deep on-ball brigade.

First-year players Callum Mills and George Hewett and second-year star Isaac Heeney are the youngsters gaining valuable utility experience.

In front of them are superstar dynamos Dan Hannebery and Josh Kennedy, both averaging a touch under 31 possessions a game, while Tom Mitchell and Luke Parker are around the 28 mark, with Jake Lloyd on 23 and Kieren Jack on 22.

Mills, 19, has established himself in a unfamiliar role across half back, while Heeney and Hewett, both 20, are playing primarily in the forward line.

Heeney is the Swans’ second-leading goalkicker behind Lance Franklin, Mills is pushing for the Rising Star award and Hewett has kicked 12.5 and played in all but two games.

Heeney, at least, is starting to get some time in the midfield and last weekend racked up a career-high 25 disposal.

Hewett was philosophical about the youngsters having to wait in line for their crack in the midfield.

“I think that’s a natural progression because we’ve got some great players and leaders in there, just about everyone who runs through midfield is a leader at our club,” Hewett told AAP.

“We just have to play our role and I think we’re doing it more weeks than we’re not.

One of seven Swans debutants this season, Hewett said there was a good age balance in the side, who are presently second on the ladder.

“Our senior players have had a lot of experience, they are not just 50, 60 game players, they are well into their careers,” Hewett said.

“They’ve been around for a while and that makes us feel a bit more comfortable.

“Looking at the side, you’ve got Jarrad McVeigh, Kieren Jack and Josh Kennedy. I think it makes us feel a bit taller than we are because there’s a few young blokes in the team at the moment.”

One youngster with a special responsibility despite playing just six senior games is ruckman Sam Naismith.

“He usually has the responsibility of all the music, he’s up to date with that sort of stuff, so the whole club just lets him take control of that before warmups and training in games,” Hewett said.

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