Swan Papley setting AFL family first

He’s played far fewer games than his grandfathers did, but emerging Sydney AFL forward Tom Papley has already gone deeper into a season than his relatives.

Max Papley and Jeff Bray were teammates at the club during it’s South Melbourne days in the 1960s, when wins were hard to come by.

Jeff played in 14 wins from 34 games in three seasons and Max 19 from 59 in four.

Grandson Tom has already tasted 14 victories from 18 games.

Neither Jeff nor Max played a finals match, so 20 -year-old Tom set a family first in that regard by playing in the qualifying final loss to GWS Giants..

The backed up to beat Adelaide in a semi-final on Saturday, with Tom writing another impressive chapter of his first-year in senior football with a four-goal haul.

“That’s the first time I’ve kicked four (AFL) goals, it’s not bad,” Papley told AAP.

“If I bring the pressure, four goals is a little cherry on top.

“But I’m just happy to get the win and play in a big prelim final next week and hopefully play in a grand final the week after and bring home the chocolates.”

A four-goal haul for a small forward represents an excellent return, but Papley’s contribution to the Swans is measured by more than just scoreboard impact,.

“In our review on Monday our forwards coach Brett Kirk will have a little look at the goals and the spots I got into,’ Papley said.

“But he’s more about focusing on the pressure and that’s my role, just to bring the pressure and that’s where my goals came from (on Saturday).”

The Papley family presence at the SCG on Saturday might well have been larger had it not been for the fact his home town club Bunyip played in the Ellinbank and District Football League grand final in country Victoria a few hours earlier.

“My cousin was playing in that, they were all down there except my dad came up (to Sydney),” Papley said.

“The Bunyip boys lost which is a bummer. I was getting scores and I was disappointed, but I had to focus on the job that I had to do.”

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