Amid the uncertainty of an AFL season in limbo there was a message from Round 1 that will warm the hearts of Sydney Swans fans.

The Round 1 side that was so impressive in beating the Crows in Adelaide on Saturday was the youngest Round 1 Swans side in 26 years.

With an average age of 24 years 146 days, it was younger than only three Round 1 sides in 44 years since the move to Sydney. Only Round 1 sides in 1983, 1985 and 1994 have been younger.

Half the side was 23 or under – James Rowbottom (19), Justin McInerney (19), Nick Blakey (20), Tom McCartin (20), Ollie Florent (21), Will Hayward (21), Callum Mills (22), Ben Ronke (22), Jordan Dawson (22), Isaac Heeney (23) and Tom Papley (23).

Also, the total AFL experience of the Round 1 side of 1707 games was 648 games or 27.5 percent lower than the Round 1 side last year, which had a combined experience of 2355 games.

And it was 605 games below the average experience of Round 1 sides since the turn of the century of 2313 games.

06:26 Mins
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Highlights: Swans v Crows

The Crows and Swans clash in round one

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Six players had played less than 30 games, and a further six less than 60 games.

It was McInerney (2), Rowbottom (13), Colin O’Riordan (16), Blakey (22), Dawson (26), Sam Naismith (29), Ronke (32), McCartin (35), Kaiden Brand (44), Aliir Aliir (51), Hayward (54) and Florent (54).

With 33-year-old 300-gamer Lance Franklin missing through injury, only Josh Kennedy (31), Dane Rampe (29) and Sam Gray (28) were older than 27, and only Kennedy(245 games), Luke Parker (196) and Rampe (160) had played more than 140 games.

Interestingly, too, with the AFL reducing the length of quarters during the coronavirus pandemic, the total game time on Saturday was down 20 minutes on the average since records were kept for the first time in 2001.

It was 101 minutes 28 seconds. The Round 1 game in 2019 went 116 mins 31 sec, while in 2018 it was 126 mins 42 sec. The longest record game in that period was 133 mins 34 sec in 2015 – or 30 minutes longer than Saturday night’s game.