The Sydney Swans have secured four key signatures, with forward Hayden McLean, midfielder Dylan Stephens and defenders Robbie Fox and Will Gould agreeing to terms on new deals with the club.
Tall-forward McLean, 22, has signed on for at least the next two seasons.
McLean joined the Swans as a supplemental selection in the preseason of 2019 and has since played 22 senior games.
McLean showed strong form in the Swans forward line late in 2021, ultimately earning a place in the elimination final team where he was one of nine players aged 22 and under to line up for the Swans.
He booted 11 goals in 12 games in 2021, while also providing support in the ruck.
Stephens, the club’s first round pick in the 2019 NAB AFL Draft, has also committed to a further two seasons at the Swans.
The 20-year-old from South Australia has shown great promise in 15 senior matches in his first two seasons at the club.
Defenders Robbie Fox and Will Gould have each signed new one-year deals.
Fox, 28, was selected in the 2017 rookie draft as a mature age recruit from VFL club Coburg.
Despite an injury interrupted start to the year, Fox was a consistent contributor in the Swans defence in the second half of the season.
Gould, the 191cm defender selected in the 2019 NAB AFL Draft with pick 26, is yet to make his AFL debut but showed strong form with the Swans VFL team in 2021.
Sydney Swans Executive General Manager - Football, Charlie Gardiner said he was pleased to secure new deals for all four players.
“We are excited to have these players commit to our program. We are confident in the direction our young group is heading and believe that all four players can play important roles for the club going forward,” Gardiner said.
“We saw in the second half of 2021 in particular both Hayden and Robbie make a significant impact for us at senior level.
“Hayden joined us as a supplemental draft selection and Robbie as a 23-year-old rookie from the VFL, so it is testament to their hard work that they have been able to make their mark at senior level.
“Dylan and Will were our first two selections in the 2019 draft and both players have been working hard to get their opportunities at senior level.
“We have seen Dylan play a number of senior games and he has shown us some really promising signs playing on the wing and through the midfield, while Will has shown strong form in the VFL this year.
“With another preseason under their belt, we expect to see both players knocking down the door for regular senior selection in 2022 and beyond,” Gardiner said.
Meanwhile, the club has advised Kaiden Brand, Sam Gray, Matthew Ling and Malachy Carruthers that they will not be offered contracts with the club for 2022.
Gray and Brand joined the Swans as delisted free agents ahead of the 2020 season. Both players made their Swans debuts in 2020 with Gray playing a total of seven matches during his two-season tenure with the club and Brand making five senior appearances.
Ling has endured a torrid run with injuries since joining the Swans with pick 14 in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft.
He made his AFL debut in 2020 and featured in a total of four matches with the club.
Carruthers, a 2020 rookie selection from South Australia was a solid contributor in the Swans VFL team throughout 2021.
Sydney Swans General Manager – Football, Charlie Gardiner thanked all four players for their contribution to the club.
“I want to thank all four departing players for their efforts during their time with the club,” Gardiner said.
“It has been an incredibly challenging period for players over the past two seasons dealing with all the impacts of Covid, so I really thank them for their hard work and commitment.
“Matt has been with the club for four seasons and unfortunately during that time has endured terrible luck with injuries. He has worked hard on his rehabilitation but has just not been able to find any continuity to train and play.
“We wish Matt, Sam, Kaiden and Malachy all the best for the future,” he said.
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