QBE Sydney Swans Academy player Isaac Heeney pulled on the red and the white guernsey for the Swans reserves for the first time in last Sunday’s NEAFL clash with Sydney University at the SCG.
The highly rated 17-year-old, who was recently selected in the AIS AFL Academy’s Level 2 squad, performed well in his first match at NEAFL level, collecting 21 disposals and kicking two goals in the team’s 75-point win.
Following his first match, the Newcastle teenager told sydneyswans.com.au he’d been pleased with his first performance with the Swans reserves.
“It was an awesome experience,” he said.
“To kick a couple of goals was very nice as well and to get a few touches and of course to enjoy the win with the boys.
“I really wasn’t expecting to get too much game time, so I guess it was a bonus to get as much time as I did and play an alright game.”
The young midfielder, who aspires to play like Swans’ co-captain Kieren Jack, said he had really benefitted from the advice of the Swans’ senior listed players.
“I asked the senior players for advice both on and off the field, so they were just directing me,” he said.
“They were the biggest help and just helped me get used to playing at that level, so I was grateful to them for directing me.
“The advice they gave me before the game was just to stick to the basics and to just continue to do everything I’d been doing, because obviously I’d been doing alright to be so young and to get called up to have a game.
“They also told me to just believe in myself and to go out and hit them hard and give 100 per cent.”
The young midfielder, who took part in this year’s AFL under-18 Championships as an underage player, was one of the standouts for the NSW/ACT Rams, alongside fellow Swans Academy player Lloyd Perris.
Heeney’s performance granted him entry into the AIS AFL Academy for the second consecutive year.
“It was my goal for the end of this year to make the level two at the AIS AFL Academy, because I was in the level one last season and that was the best experience I’ve had,” he said.
“Now I’m in the level two I’m with most of the boys from last year again and it’s just an unbelievable experience.”
With just one year remaining until Heeney is eligible to be drafted by an AFL club, the teenager is weighing up his options regarding where he will play his football in 2014.
The year 11 student currently plays premier division football for the Cardiff Hawks in the Black Diamond Australian Football League, which is played across Newcastle and the Central Coast, and travels to Sydney for Swans Academy commitments.
While moving to Sydney is an option for Heeney next year, the young player said he also had to consider his year 12 study when making the decision.
“At the moment I’m not sure where I’ll be,” he said.
“Obviously I would like to move down to Sydney to pursue my footy goals as well as my schooling and I’d like to become a vet.
“The travel does get tiring travelling to Sydney, which is two and a half hours from where we live.
“I’ve been playing in Premier Division, so I’m playing with men and I have been for the last three years, so that’s been awesome and has helped me improve a lot.
“I’ve just got to give both footy and school a good hard go I guess so I’m going to have to make that decision.”