Sorry McVeigh, I was wrong

Good morning all on this fine, sunny Melbourne morning. Anyone who lives in Melbourne knows that a day rarely finishes the way it starts, and with rain and clouds threatening, who knows what'll happen.

The Swans once again made waves in the AFL community yesterday for all the right reasons, announcing yet another succession plan that's set to leave Eddie burning with rage.

Where once the Swans cleverly and successfully transitioned from one senior coach to another, without hiccup mind you, they've once again drawn from the well, instead announcing a CEO transition.

It's quite common for CEO's to announce their successors in the business world, but it tends to be when they're being pushed out, or they're under pressure, less frequently when they're at the top of their game, and their organisation is booming.

Richard Colless and Andrew Ireland shared a profitable and successful relationship as Chairman and CEO, and later, under Andrew Pridham. The Swans have come on leaps and bounds under the guidance of the three experienced individuals, cultivating an outstanding, admired and envied corporate environment, along with a resilient football culture.

Other clubs have tried to copy the Swans blueprint, but few have come close to achieving it, often lacking the key ingredients at the top of the pile to drive the necessary changes through.

The Swans long ago embraced a hierarchal structure around football and performance management and its paid dividends over the long haul, while some clubs relied too much on inexperienced coaches and middle management to see the job through.

Tom Harley's progression from star AFL defender, to media personality, head of football operations and now CEO is nothing short of astonishing. It's hard to believe he retired just 8 years ago, and in two years time, his 10 year anniversary since his last game, he'll be leading one of Australia's largest sporting organisations.

He's been a fantastic addition to the club and has lead the football department with aplomb, and it's just another case of the Swans taking their time to pick the right man, for the right job.

While we're on the topic of the right man for the right job, it's time for this blogger to fess up to something, that's turning out to be a giant egg on face.

Last season, I, among others, wrote off Jarrad McVeigh in the AFL. He was enduring recurring calf injuries, typically suffered by older players, and his body was letting him down. Coupled with a grand final performance that left many scratching their heads, I wrote a few words on his premature demise.

But suffice to say, his impact on this team this season has been nothing short of remarkable. I don't even have a wide enough vocabulary of superlatives to endow upon him. His influence and leadership in the backline, when it was at its weakest, has been fantastic, and nothing less than what we've come to expect from the former captain.

It's easy to write someone off who's passed on the captaincy, just like Matthew Lloyd did when he talked about Kieren Jack earlier this year, despite the fact he was quite obviously playing injured. But it takes even more courage to fess up your sins, and admit when you're wrong, something we never see from the football media these days.

Not that I expect a cavalcade, or a marching band, or really anyone at all to follow suit, that would be asking too much. The resurrection of a club champion, so to speak, has been a massive boon for the club, and will hold us in good stead. And I for one am sorry Jarrad, you still got it.

His influence can't be understated. Despite a dodgy hamstring, he kicked two against the Roos, including a peach that left Dermott Brereton speechless, a rarity in football these days.

But more telling was his absence from the team, and the way the Swans struggled against small and quick forward lines, in particular the 4 game stretch that included the Hawks, Tigers and Bombers. Reflecting on those games, his influence would have been key to not only slowing down those attacks, but even restricting certain goal scoring opportunities.

But he's back in the team now, fit as a fiddle with granite calves, and hopefully he's in to stay. We can't afford another final series injury blip from Jarrad, as we've seen how the defence can unravel without him leading the lines.

Rumour has it that the Demons have tossed their hat in the ring to pick up Jarrad next year, on a contract similar to Sam Mitchell, two years and a coaching role afterwards. I don't know how much truth there is to it, with various sources close and far from the Melbourne club suggesting the deal is close to done, and non-existent, so time will tell.

While we're lucky to have Russell Robertson on the next SwansCast, who's currently the Marketing and Club Development Manager at the Melbourne Football Club, while it's tempting to ask him about Zak Jones and Jarrad McVeigh, it's better to leave those subjects alone. Better to extinguish the fire, than stoke it.

The Swans are in a fantastic state on and off the field, after an incredible recovery from a perilous start to the season. Long may it continue.

We'll be back later today with news and updates from the Swans, including the latest injury and other Swans news.

Until next time, have a great hump day.

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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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