SYDNEY SWANS’ ROOKIE RICHES
HEATH GRUNDY – A few clubs showed some interest but none acted on it until pick 42 of the 2005 rookie draft. The South Australian was recruited as a forward but is now one of the league’s best key defenders.
KIEREN JACK – Rugby league convert who played for Sydney club Pennant Hills before being picked up in 2005 rookie draft. Started AFL career as a tagger but became a fine midfielder in his own right and replaced Adam Goodes as co-captain in 2013.
JAKE LLOYD – Overlooked in two national drafts, with many clubs ignoring the Horsham product’s work ethnic and wrongly deeming him too small. Played in the 2014 grand final.
SAM NAISMITH – Hails from north-eastern NSW town of Gunnedah. Was set to play university rugby before taking a call from Paul Roos (then an academy coach at the Swans). The ruckman has overcome some injury trouble to entrench himself at AFL level.
TOM PAPLEY – Proved a capable goal-kicker for Gippsland in the TAC Cup but most recruiters doubted the apprentice plumber’s ability to do it at AFL level. Booted a career-best four goals last Saturday to help the Swans win their semi-final.
DANE RAMPE – Ignored after three seasons in the VFL. Came back to hometown Sydney and was playing for University of NSW when word got around at the Swans he might be worth a look. Was named in this year’s All Australian team.
XAVIER RICHARDS – Young brother of Ted who joined the club in 2012, having been overlooked at two national drafts. The defender was swung forward in the NEAFL earlier this year and is now holding down a spot in the forward line alongside Lance Franklin.
NICK SMITH – Represented Vic Metro in the under-18 national championships and played alongside Cyril Rioli at Scotch College. Despite being a great kick he was overlooked in the national draft. All Australian defender in 2014.