The Sydney Swans have today announced 11 players for the club’s inaugural East Coast VFL competition team.
The newly-created competition is made up of 22 teams from NSW, Victoria and Queensland, including AFL standalone teams, ex-Victorian Football League (VFL) clubs and former North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) teams.
Sydney Swans Executive GM of Football Charlie Gardiner said there is a big NSW flavour in the list that has been confirmed to date, with nine players current or former QBE Sydney Swans Academy athletes.
“We have tried to maintain a NSW bias,” Gardiner said.
“We would like to develop talent in the state and continue what we are doing with our QBE Sydney Swans Academy program, which was been really successful over the past 11 years.
“We also wanted to go out and find the best talent we can to play in our team and support our listed players development.
“We’ve looked at players who have spent time on other AFL lists and players that have work interests in Sydney, so it’s been a bit of a combination of people who have a connection to Sydney, but we are also trying to get the best available talent.
“We have a mixture of players who are over 22 years old, as well as development squad players – bearing in mind we have some rules within the competition that at least six players under the age of 22 need to participate in every game.
“The squad is not finalised at this stage, but we have a list of players who are committed and there’s a good mix of youth and experience.”
Among the more experienced names are 2019 NEAFL MVP and ex-NEAFL Sydney University and QBE Sydney Swans Academy graduate Jake Bartholomaeus, former Carlton listed player Ben Silvagni and former QBE Sydney Swans Academy product, Werribee player and dual NEAFL Team of the Year player Ryan Hebron.
In the lead up to the 2021 East Coast VFL season, players in the squad can train twice a week with the senior Sydney Swans program.
“We have to work around players work and study commitments, but we are keen to have them here training with our senior players and experiencing the intensity of senior training as much as possible,” Gardiner said.
The East Coast VFL competition team will be coached by Jeremy Laidler and the season will start in April 2021 and be played over 16 rounds.
Sydney Swans East Coast VFL (players confirmed to date)
Jake Bartholomaeus (QBE Sydney Swans Academy / Sydney University)
Nick Brewer (QBE Sydney Swans Academy / North Shore Bombers)
Darcy Cordell (QBE Sydney Swans Academy/ UNSW Bulldogs)
Max Geddes (QBE Sydney Swans Academy / UNSW Bulldogs )
Ryan Hebron (QBE Sydney Swans Academy, North Shore Bombers)
Lachlan McAndrew (QBE Sydney Swans Academy / Manly Wolves)
Harry Morrison (Sydney Uni, Sturt, Old Geelong)
Ben Silvagni (Carlton Football Club)
Sam Thorne (QBE Sydney Swans Academy / UNSW Bulldogs)
Reed van Husstede (QBE Sydney Swans Academy / Newcastle City)
Aidan Watling (QBE Sydney Swans Academy / Newcastle City)
Note: The playing list will comprise a primary list of up to 12 open-age players, and a development list of up to 18 players aged 22 and under.
You can follow the team on the new Swans Reserves Instagram account.