Sydney Swans defence coach Tadhg Kennelly is confident Jackson Thurlow has the blueprint to return to his influential best in season 2020.
While the former Geelong Cats backman managed just nine AFL games in his first season in red and white, the 25-year-old’s form saw him feature in eight of the first 10 matches of the season.
The fleet-footed Swan gathered an average of 14.6 touches, 4.1 marks, 4.3 rebound 50s and 2.3 tackles per match in season 2019, with arguably his best game his performance in Round 5.
Thurlow finished the clash with Richmond with 15 possessions (six contested), five marks, four rebound 50s and an equal-match-high eight tackles.
Kennelly believes Thurlow can use his early-season form as a springboard for 2020.
“He’s shown some really good signs as an intercept player and a bloke that can defend really well one on one – and we want him to get back to that form that he showed at the start of the season,” Kennelly told SwansTV.
“I know he’s disappointed with the back end of the year, but he’s got something to look forward to and strive to. He’s certainly going to give us some value as a defender and an intercept player.”
Thurlow played eight NEAFL games in season 2019 for a return of 21.75 disposals, 4.3 marks and three tackles per match.
The 55-gamer is determined to stamp his mark on the emerging wave of Sydney defenders.
Thurlow, Callum Mills, Aliir Aliir, Colin O’Riordan and Lewis Melican are among the young Swans striving to help fill the void left by retired defenders Jarrad McVeigh, Heath Grundy and Nick Smith.
Thurlow has a burning desire to blitz the 2020 pre-season.
“I played some senior footy early in the year and really enjoyed that experience,” Thurlow told SwansTV.
“I would have liked to have played a bit more senior footy later in the year, but hopefully a big pre-season can push for a big 2020.”