The uncontractables

Now that the AFL's trade week has finished, the Swans have turned their attention to their out of contract players.

Want-away forward Xavier Richards, who requested a trade to a Victorian era club, is still with the Swans after no other club courted him. It wasn't that the club was asking anything for the uncontracted forward, there wasn't any interest in him. Still, he can develop into an important player for the club, after displaying some level of talent later in the season after impressive performances in the NEAFL.

The Swans will have to deal with 9 out of contract players, offering contracts and delisting those surplus to requirements. The club has already offered contracts to several of the higher profile players for 2017 and beyond. Uncontracted players Xavier Richards and Dean Towers, may end up in the delisted free agent draft if they continue to reject offers from the Swans.

Harry Marsh and Alex Johnson could win a reprieve before November 1st's delisted free agent period, if they sign with the club beforehand. While the Swans have made their contract intentions with Johnson public, nothing has been said about Marsh.

It's all hush hush at the moment, with the most likely outcome being another delisting and rookie drafting. While Marsh had a solid if not unspectacular run in the team, playing in three finals, a rookie upgrade to the senior team still looks a long shot with Johnson on the mend. Laidler was re-signed earlier in the year and looks to be the preferred 3rd tall option, usurping Marsh for the grand final spot.

With the imminent return of Talia, there'll be plenty of options for the Swans and Marsh looks the likely victim. Either way, he's a talented defender and with more patience and work, could be better than Laidler.

Senior fringe and regular NEAFL players such as Abe Davis, Lewis Melican and Jordan Foote may retain their position on the team, albeit unlikely to be offered new contracts. Rather the club will look towards the tried and true method of delisting and re-drafting them through the delisted free agent draft. Long term injuries will give them limited opportunities next season, such as those given to Marsh and Papley.

Sam Murray and Jack Hiscox will most likely find their time with the club has come to an end. Hiscox made his debut earlier this season in unremarkable fashion, looking both physically unfit and ill equipped for AFL football. While his performances at NEAFL level were good enough for a senior call, his size and physique is an issue and his performance didn't warrant a recall.

Swans Head of Football Tom Harley, was upbeat when he talked to the AFL about the possibility of retaining Richards.

“We will continue to work with Xavier’s manager Phil Mullen about his future,” Harley said.

“We’ve had a contract offer there and we have a bit of time before list lodgement to get more of an understand of what Xavier wants to do.

“We will pick up the conversation with Xavier and see how it lands.”

Harley also said that there was strong intent from the Swans to retain Towers.

“There was not a lot of movement for Dean during the trade period,” he said.

“He remains out of contract but we have been in constant dialogue with his manager.

“We hope that Dean plays for us next year for sure.”

And there you have it folks. The club want to keep them, but they don't want to stay, so it's off to the delisted free agent draft unless something drastic changes. But since Richards made it abundantly clear that he can't afford rent and Towers has been in and out of the side since his career started, it would be some kind of turn around for both players to stay.

The following is the list of players whose contract expires in 2016:

  • Abe Davis
  • Jordan Foote (Cat A Rookie 2nd year)
  • Jack Hiscox
  • Alex Johnson (contract offer indicated)
  • Harry Marsh (Cat A Rookie 1st year)
  • Lewis Melican (Cat A Rookie 2nd year)
  • Sam Murray (Cat B Rookie 1st year)
  • Xavier Richards (requested trade)
  • Dean Towers (contract offer)

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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