Award-winning Sydney youngster Isaac Heeney is built for finals football according to one of the Swans’ AFL leaders.
The soaring status of 20-year-old Swans academy product Heeney was underlined on Tuesday when he won the AFL Coaches’ Association’s best young player award.
The recognition came just three days after one of the snowy-haired Swan’s best performances, a career-high 32 disposal effort in Saturday’semi-final win over Adelaide.
He also grabbed nine marks, just one off his best and was a dynamo around the ground, making numerous big plays.
“He’s a solid kid; he’s built for AFL football; he’s built for finals football,” Swans co-captain Kieren Jack said.
“He certainly doesn’t look like your typical 20-year-old.
‘He’s got a good head on his shoulders and he’ll be around this club for a few years.”
Jack praised Heeney for bouncing back from a brief mid-season slump.
Recruited as a midfielder, Heeney had been used primarily as a key forward for his first one-and-a-half seasons, but has spent more time on the ball in recent weeks, also helping out down back last week.
Jack expects Heeney to continue splitting time between forward and on-ball roles.
“He’s a good size, he’s a really good mark for his size too, so he can be really dangerous forward,” Jack said.
“But we saw on the weekend his ability to come into the midfield and have a real impact, too.
“He’s a strong body, he’s not afraid to hit bodies and be physical around the contest , so getting that mix right, it’s exciting for him and for fans to see where he’s going to end up.”
Jack said the Swans’ clutch of youngsters were in good spirits heading into Friday’s preliminary final against Geelong,
They have experienced both ends of the emotional spectrum, having gone from a deflating 36-point loss to the GWS Giants to an uplifting win by the same margin over the Crwos.
“The differences between the last two weeks will also help them really simplify things – know what works, the level of play we have to play,” Jack said.