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Swans won't be caught napping

Callum Twomey  March 7, 2018 8:36 AM

Isaac Heeney in action for the Swans during their JLT series win over Brisbane in Moreton Bay.

Isaac Heeney in action for the Swans during their JLT series win over Brisbane in Moreton Bay.

Of all the storylines predicted before last season, Sydney starting the year with six straight losses was not something anyone saw coming. And Isaac Heeney and the Swans are determined to not let history repeat.

And it was history. The Swans were the first team ever to play in the Grand Final one year and then start the next 0-6, but they recovered to win 14 of their next 16 games and play in the finals.

Their season ended two weeks later when they were embarrassed by Geelong in the semi-final at the MCG, but Heeney, one of the emerging stars of the competition, said the memories of the start of 2017 still lingered.

"It does play on your mind, but we go into it now thinking it's a new season. We looked at what happened early last season and corrected it mid-year, and we'll take the second half of last year into the start of this year," Heeney told

"We won't look too much at the start. We know what works for us, and as long as we play that style of footy we won't have the start that we had last year."

It was a positive beginning for the Swans last weekend as they thumped Brisbane by 55 points in their opening JLT Community Series clash.

They come up against crosstown rivals Greater Western Sydney on Friday night in Blacktown, their final official hit-out before heading to Perth to take on West Coast in round one at Optus Stadium.

Last week was also an encouraging outing for Heeney, whose pre-season was interrupted by minor knee surgery last December.

He shapes as one of the most pivotal players in the Swans' premiership quest this year – he's tough, skilled, courageous and a genuine match-winner – and will be handed more responsibility in his fourth AFL season.

"I had a good base of training before that surgery and felt really fit and strong, and was running and training really well," he said.

"Another setback for me in the pre-season was frustrating, but I've come back to full training the past week or two. I played on the weekend and the knee pulled up really well. I couldn't hit a target, but it was good to get out there and get some game fitness under my belt. I felt good out there.

"It's going to take some weeks into the season to get that game fitness back, because there's nothing like game-style running. It's something that will take a few more games for me."

At 21 and with only 58 games to his name, Heeney remains one of the younger members of the Swans' core group. But he's also excited about the impact some of his less experienced teammates could have on the club's fortunes this year, citing some newer faces as players to watch in 2018.

"Robbie Fox played really well on the weekend. Tommy McCartin is extremely athletic and will be good for us up forward, and Ryley Stoddart was good on the weekend," Heeney said.

"When his body matures and he gets that fitness under his belt he'll be a good player."