Sydney youngster Isaac Heeney looks to be over his dose of the AFL sophomore blues after another impressive late-season performance for the Swans.
The 20-year-old former Swans academy player was recently left out of the side after a mid-season form slump but has put together strong back-to-back efforts in the past two rounds.
He followed up last week’s four-goal, 22-possession performance against Fremantle by kicking 2.2, tallying a career-best 25 disposals and grabbing eight marks in Saturday’s 67-point home win over Port Adelaide.
“He was full of energy today, he competed really hard and he’s a massive competitor,” Swans coach John Longmire said.
“When he was running around like he was today and he was leading up, hitting the ball hard and launching at the ball in the air, he was back to his best and that’s a great sign for us.”
Although still used primarily as a forward second-season senior player, Heeney will continue to be rotated through the midfield.
“It just depends upon where we need him,” said Longmire of Heeney, who came to the club as a midfielder.
Longmire praised Heeney’s ability to contest the ball in the air and then be first to it on the ground.
“He was launching at the ball at the way he was today – that’s obviously his strength, but he’s so composed when the ball hits the deck too,” Longmire said.
“He’s able to launch at it and quite often be first at the crumb, which is a unique skill to have and he was certainly doing that today.”
Port coach Ken Hinkley praised Heeney and fellow youngster and Swans academy product Callum Mills, who gave another assured performance across half back.
Hinkley felt his side panicked after a disastrous start in which they conceded the first eight goals and 54 points before finally hitting the scoreboard in the second quarter.
He praised defender Tom Clurey for keeping Sydney spearhead Lance Franklin to two goals and said he might give one or two more youngsters a run before the season ended.