A year to the day since Lance Franklin’s mental health issue was made public, Sydney and their star spearhead are in super shape heading into a new finals campaign, confident their youngsters can handle the AFL September heat.
Unbeaten in six games and with all of their prime movers fit and firing, the minor premiers are set for another strong September showing.
Franklin and midfielders Luke Parker and Kieren Jack all missed last year’s finals series.
The Swans bowed out in straight sets, the only time they had done since John Longmire took over as coach in 2011.
“For myself and a few others to miss out last year when we still thought we were pretty competitive going into the finals series was disappointing,” Jack said.
“No doubt we’re a lot healthier than we were last year, that we’re in a good state.
“We’re confident with the mix that we’ve got in the team. There were some question marks thrown around early about us with our experience and I think those have been thrown to bed really.
“The young guys have come in and done extremely well.”
Several of the seven first-year seniors blooded by Sydney in 2016 will play key roles against Greater Western Sydney at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
“”They will be exposed early, it will be hot early, but they will find their way,” Jack said.
One of the finals rookies will be Rising Star winner Callum Mills.
“I saw him putting some gloves on before, I might have to bring him back down to earth a little bit,” Jack quipped.
“His impact on the footy club for a first-year player has been immense.”
GWS inflicted Sydney’s heaviest loss of the season and Jack made it clear the Swans would seek to stop the Giants’ outside run by winning the inside battles.
“Stopping the supply is probably one thing, our inside’s got beaten last time against them, so we’ll put some work into that,” Jack said.