The third part of the six-part series comprises the five players that the Geelong Cats, Gold Coast Suns and Greater Western Sydney Giants could least afford to lose in season 2021 plus an honourable mention.
Sydney coach John Longmire says it’s time for everyone to move on after his co-skipper Kieren Jack ended a tumultuous week with a key role in the Swans’ 38-point AFL triumph over Geelong.
Jack was thrust into the spotlight on the eve of his 200th game when a family spat also involving his girlfriend, his mother and his father, former rugby league great Garry Jack, became public knowledge.
But far from retreating into his shell, the combative Jack burst out of the blocks with the opening goal of the match at Simonds Stadium.
He ended the night with a game-high three goals and 24 possessions before being joined in an emotional post-match huddle by his younger brother and teammate Brandon, who was an emergency for the clash at Simonds Stadium.
“Kieren went through a tough week,” Longmire said.
“It’s been well written and documented and I think everyone is over it to be honest.
“I think we all need to move on from it.
“The players obviously supported him and Brandon in a really strong way but in the end I think it’s time that everyone moved on.”
The Swans dominated the midfield battle and also got great returns from a number of their youngest players including defenders Callum Mills and Aliir Aliir.
“From the first bounce I thought we played a really good, strong brand of footy,” Longmire said.
“They came at us a bit in the second quarter but I thought our leaders were sensational and our kids were super tonight.
“Someone told me before we came in that we had four (players who had played) under 10 games and eight under 30.”
Aliir’s ability to hold down a key defensive position allowed Longmire to keep regular fullback Ted Richards in the forward line for the entirety of the match.
“We were hoping by now that Sam Reid would be back but he’s not and with Kurt (Tippett) out as well we thought we needed another tall, particularly down here on a longer ground,” said Longmire.
“Ted hasn’t played a lot of football recently as a forward but he did as a young fella.
“He knows his stuff and he played a role for us.
“He had three shots at goal and was just another marking target in our forward line.”
The Swans will draw level on points with ladder leaders Hawthorn if they win Thursday night’s huge clash at the SCG.