Exciting prospect Hayden McLean says he’s embracing the tag of the Sydney Swans’ primary forward target in the team’s finals campaign.

While the 20-year-old spent four games as the Swans’ chief ruckman in the AFL this season, he’s calling the forward line home in the NEAFL side’s pursuit of premiership glory.

McLean proved a powerful force in last Saturday’s elimination final victory over Sydney University, collecting 18 disposals, nine marks and three goals as the Swans stole a nine-point win.

The former Sandringham Dragons skipper is now set to meet a Brisbane Lions outfit blessed with hulking key defenders, including Josh Walker, Matt Eagles and Jack Payne.

Which Lion is tasked with the principal role of quelling McLean’s impact in Sunday’s preliminary final remains to be seen, but the 197-centimetre Swan says he’s relishing the challenge of spearheading Sydney’s forward line.

“Forward is the position that I really like,” McLean told SwansTV ahead of the South Pine Sports Complex clash.

“With Sam Naismith back playing and Darcy Cameron and Michael Knoll in the team there are enough rucks there.

“To hold down that predominant forward position is really good, and I’ve enjoyed getting more time there to learn the plays. I feel like we really clicked as a forward line last weekend.”

Lively small forwards Sam Wicks, Cody Hirst and Erroll Gulden complement McLean brilliantly, feasting on the ground ball and injecting a tsunami of tackling pressure. 

Wicks tallied 16 tackles in Sydney’s elimination final to match the 2019 season’s record.

McLean had high praise for the Swans’ opportunist forwards.

“Cody Hirst has been another great addition to the team this year. His forward pressure and work at the feet has been really good and how he’s helped me has been super,” McLean said.

“Sam Wicks as well – his tackling pressure has been super.

“It feels like we’re a good unit down there at the moment and we’re really bouncing off each other, which is fantastic.”

Who: Sydney Swans v Brisbane Lions

Where: South Pine Sports Complex, Brisbane

When: Sunday, 1pm

To tune in to the live stream click here.

Sydney Swans team:

B: 51. R Barkley 47. T Pink 54. K Martin
HB: 19. M Ling 46. J Amartey 53. K McKellar
C: 16. Z Foot 1. J Rose 27. J McInerney
HF: 52. E Gulden 17. D Cameron 49. C Hirst
F: 41. H McLean 35. S Naismith 45. S Wicks
R: 48. M Knoll 32. J Bell 50. S Thorne
Int: 55. N Brewer 57. M Geddes 56. M Rossmann 33. R Stoddart 60. R van Huisstede