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Hayward aims for impact

Adrian Warren, AAP  September 7, 2018 2:52 PM

Hayward ready for first final Will Hayward speaks to Swans TV ahead of the Elimination Final against GWS.

Exciting Sydney goalsneak Will Hayward is looking to have more scoreboard impact than in recent weeks, as he enters the finals furnace for the first time.

Hayward will be one of three finals debutants in the Swans forward line in Saturday's home elimination game against Greater Western Sydney, playing alongside 18-year-old Tom McCartin, the AFL's youngest player, and 20-year-old rookie list sensation Ben Ronke.

Hayward hasn't missed a game this season, kicking 28 goals, second most for the Swans behind Lance Franklin.

The 19-year-old South Australian's increasing value to the club was underlined earlier this season, when Franklin was out with a heel issue.

Hayward kicked three goals in each of the three games missed by his superstar teammate.

The opportunistic small forward kicked 22 goals in 17 games last year in his first AFL season.

But after kicking three goals and earning a Rising Star nomination in the Swans' last round home and away game, he was dropped to the NEAFL and didn't play in either of their finals matches.

"I'm itching to get out there this year," Hayward said.

"The NEAFL boys all got together and watched the Essendon and Geelong (finals) games. It's hard to watch when you want to be out there, which is what everyone was wanting to do.

"But it just makes you a bit more motivated for the year after, so I'm really looking forward to this finals series."

Despite being an ever-present member of the side in 2018, Hayward said he felt it had been an up and down season in some respects, particularly in goalkicking.

While he's improved his tally from last season, he has kicked just two in his last five games and hasn't booted more than one since round 17.

"I think my first 12 games I was probably playing the better part of my season and since then I haven't hit the scoreboard as much," he said.

"But my pressure has probably picked up a bit, and forward pressure is a big focus for the modern game."