I think the Sydney Swans have all the tools to win the premiership this season.
By looking just at their list on paper, it looks the best. I know looking at it on paper can only go so far, but it’s worth considering…
The Swans boast a tough, hard-working backline built around rocks like Ted Richards and Heath Grundy. It too contains premiership players in Nick Smith and Alex Johnson. They potentially have the best back six in the competition, maybe with the exception of Fremantle.
The midfield again is tough. They are terrific tacklers, and they kick goals. Dan Hannebery, Kieran Jack, Ryan O’Keefe and young Tom Mitchell are the core guys in this area.
And how could we forget the forward line – how it makes me think of Kenny Loggins’ Highway to the Danger Zone.
Despite their Cost of Living Allowance now scrapped, that very policy allowed them to secure both Kurt Tippett and Lance Franklin. These two in the same forward-line is about the most potent we’ll see.
Having the ability to use Sam Reid as a swing-man is also a luxury.
Their only weakness is perhaps in the ruck stocks. Mike Pyke is a capable number one ruckman due to Mumford’s departure, and the recruiting of Tom Derickx from Sydney and Toby Nankervis in the draft should be able to provide depth.
The other big plus is that most of the players on their list know how to win premierships.
They are superbly placed to win the flag this season, but it’s now or bust.
The Swans have the second-oldest list in the game, behind Fremantle. Despite the experience they have, their older statesmen aren’t exactly getting any younger.
Adam Goodes is 34, Ryan O’Keefe 33, Ted Richards 31 and Rhyce Shaw 32.
Veteran Jarrad McVeigh is still only 28, but the question may be whether their bodies can stay right to go all the way again.
Can these old boys go at it again for one more flag tilt?
I think they can. They cover pretty much all areas on their list, with minimal gaps. There are enough big names too, more than most other clubs.
Sydney can win the premiership in 2014, but this is the year to do so. Not only will they not be backed up by the COLA beyond this year, but many of their stars we have learned to appreciate may see age catch up with them.