Player Watch #3 Dylan Stephens - Pick 5

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Kennedy Parker

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Dylan Stephens
The Sydney Swans used their first pick five since Jarrad McVeigh in 2002 to lock in a talented midfielder from South Australian club Norwood at the 2019 AFL Draft. Dylan Stephens is a prolific ball-winner and creative user of the footy by hand and foot. He played predominantly on a wing in the early matches of the 2019 AFL Under-18 Championships before starring on the inside in the final match, gathering 33 disposals in a best-on-ground performance. A penetrating left-footer, he averaged 23.8 disposals and 4.8 tackles across the 2019 AFL Under-18 Championships and was rewarded with All Australian honours. He also played some excellent football at senior level with Norwood, averaging 18.2 disposals and 4.6 tackles in 12 matches. Stephens enjoyed a breakout season for the Bloods in 2020 with a memorable AFL debut in Round 6 against Richmond alongside fellow debutant, Chad Warner. Stephens finished the campaign with eight appearances, averaging 12.5 disposals and 3.4 marks per game, while also kicking two goals.

Dylan Stephens
DOB: 08 January 2001
DEBUT: 2020
DRAFT: #5, 2019 National Draft
RECRUITED FROM: Red Cliffs (Vic)/Walkerville (SA)/St Peter's College (SA)/Norwood (SANFL)

 

SwansProudly

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Sydney’s newest recruits were welcomed to the Swans family this week – and now we can reveal what numbers they’ll be wearing in season 2020.

Dylan Stephens, who was selected with pick five in the AFL draft, will don the number three jumper worn by 2012 premiership co-captain Jarrad McVeigh – who was also a number five draft selection.

 

RUNVS

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Screams Class ( with a capital C) this signing. Will debut early no doubt.
He should as generally speaking all top 5 picks play reasonable number of games in their first year, especially if they are midfielders.

I mean not including King and Rankine who were both injured for all of 2019 the other top 10 picks of last year all played significant number of games. In fact the lowest number of games played was Jones from Adelaide who played 8 games. Everyone else played either mid teens or over 20 games. With that in mind Stephens should be aiming for at least 15 games next year.
 

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caesar88

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He should as generally speaking all top 5 picks play reasonable number of games in their first year, especially if they are midfielders.

I mean not including King and Rankine who were both injured for all of 2019 the other top 10 picks of last year all played significant number of games. In fact the lowest number of games played was Jones from Adelaide who played 8 games. Everyone else played either mid teens or over 20 games. With that in mind Stephens should be aiming for at least 15 games next year.
That’s because typically teams with top picks lack the overall depth/talent on their list, so it’s easier to find a spot for them. In an ideal world we field a more experienced, comprehensive 22 next year and Stephens misses out and enjoys a NEAFL apprenticeship. Whether our side gets to that point or not is another story...
 

McRobie

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That’s because typically teams with top picks lack the overall depth/talent on their list, so it’s easier to find a spot for them. In an ideal world we field a more experienced, comprehensive 22 next year and Stephens misses out and enjoys a NEAFL apprenticeship. Whether our side gets to that point or not is another story...
We are absolutely there, we are every bit the ladder position we finished. That’s not to say we don’t have exciting youth.
we just don’t have many demanding spots which means anyone who does well in preseason puts themselves in the frame for rd1 debut.
 

SeanM

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I think Stephens and Gould will be eased into it and play NEAFL at the start of the year.

I can't see the benefit of playing them too early. I think it will be like Rowbottom this year, where they will play 1-2 games off the bench early in the season. And then the club will assess where they are at.

I think they will want to give them time to get used to training, team structures and building up their bodies before having to worry about the pressures of first team football.
 

caesar88

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We are absolutely there, we are every bit the ladder position we finished. That’s not to say we don’t have exciting youth.
we just don’t have many demanding spots which means anyone who does well in preseason puts themselves in the frame for rd1 debut.
I think it's a slightly different situation this year though in the sense that all the exciting youth you speak of is basically already in the best 22. The young guns like McCartin, Florent, Dawson, Blakey, Rowbottom, Hayward etc will all be there round one barring any injuries or really underwhelming pre-season form. Blakey & Rowbottom were fortunate last year in that they were the more appealing options to play as opposed to injured veterans (Smith, Grundy), ageing veterans (Jack, McVeigh) and average depth players (Thurlow, Clarke).

But this year Stephens & Gould will be pressing their cases against those same young guns who are already in the 22, and against some more mature talent that are certainly better than Clarke & Thurlow (Gray, Taylor). So a lot harder for them, which is why despite Horse saying he thinks our draftees could all play senior footy next year, I can't see it happening much.
 

SGBeach

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I think it's a slightly different situation this year though in the sense that all the exciting youth you speak of is basically already in the best 22. The young guns like McCartin, Florent, Dawson, Blakey, Rowbottom, Hayward etc will all be there round one barring any injuries or really underwhelming pre-season form. Blakey & Rowbottom were fortunate last year in that they were the more appealing options to play as opposed to injured veterans (Smith, Grundy), ageing veterans (Jack, McVeigh) and average depth players (Thurlow, Clarke).

But this year Stephens & Gould will be pressing their cases against those same young guns who are already in the 22, and against some more mature talent that are certainly better than Clarke & Thurlow (Gray, Taylor). So a lot harder for them, which is why despite Horse saying he thinks our draftees could all play senior footy next year, I can't see it happening much.
Agree
Id put Ling, Foot, McInerney, in the bracket of 'exciting young ones' aswell.
Kinnear spoke of a few players turning up with stronger bodies.. players like Foot and McInerney who weren't physically ready last year, may well be ready this year and Ling may finally be over his injuries. All three will be pressing their case for senior selection along with Stephens and Gould
 

caesar88

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Agree
Id put Ling, Foot, McInerney, in the bracket of 'exciting young ones' aswell.
Kinnear spoke of a few players turning up with stronger bodies.. players like Foot and McInerney who weren't physically ready last year, may well be ready this year and Ling may finally be over his injuries. All three will be pressing their case for senior selection along with Stephens and Gould
Yep agree there, although the most under-rated one for me is Wicks. I think McInerney & Foot are talked up a lot as they’re flashy players and were drafted alongside Blakey and Rowbottom, but I thought Wicks’ year in the NEAFL was far superior to those two, and he was very stiff not to earn a senior debut. That puts him right at the top of my list of the young guys not yet established at senior level if one of them was needed in the seniors.
 

SGBeach

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Yep agree there, although the most under-rated one for me is Wicks. I think McInerney & Foot are talked up a lot as they’re flashy players and were drafted alongside Blakey and Rowbottom, but I thought Wicks’ year in the NEAFL was far superior to those two, and he was very stiff not to earn a senior debut. That puts him right at the top of my list of the young guys not yet established at senior level if one of them was needed in the seniors.
Yep, Wicks seems great.. so, Wicks, Ling, Foot, McInerney, maybe Stoddart.. then there's McLean and Warner who may get a few games and of course Taylor, more likely 2021 but has the skills.
Armatey, Reynolds, Rowles are longer term prospects.. won't get a game next year
 

SeanM

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We have got such a big group of emerging players looking to break through into the first team. That I don't think they will be judged harshly by the club if they don't establish themselves this season.

In the contract thread, sometimes I see people say that if a player is not playing regular first team football by his third season then he should be delisted. But even Jordan Dawson did not emerge till his fourth season. So I think there is still scope to be patient with players.

Just looking at the half back flanker position. You have got potentially COR, Stoddart, Ling, Gould and possibly Mcinerney looking to break through. Or the half forward position where we have signed L. Taylor and Gray. But still got young players like Ronke, Wicks, Foote, E. Taylor and possibly Stephens.
 
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SeanM

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Yep agree there, although the most under-rated one for me is Wicks. I think McInerney & Foot are talked up a lot as they’re flashy players and were drafted alongside Blakey and Rowbottom, but I thought Wicks’ year in the NEAFL was far superior to those two, and he was very stiff not to earn a senior debut. That puts him right at the top of my list of the young guys not yet established at senior level if one of them was needed in the seniors.
Wicks seems to be someone who can play the role the coaches give him. He also makes a lot of tackles which suits the modern game which values small forwards who can tackle and pressure. Though he is a Cat B rookie which might limit him if there are no long term injuries.

I remember there was a reserve game this season where the team was struggling. Wicks was playing inside midfield and he took it on himself to keep winning the contested balls and drive the team forward. Not going to be able to do that at senior level but I was impressed with his competitiveness and the way he was able to dominate the game.
 

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mikey_san

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Don’t see Gould playing rd 1, but Steapens yes.
Haha - other way round for me. Very confident Gould can step in right away if needed, physically and mentally looks ready. Dylan might need a year to build his body and confidence. ITMT Gray and Taylor look to be in a good position to play a similar role if they turn up determined to make their mark. Time will tell I guess, a very interesting preseason coming up.
 

SeanM

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The two preseason games are a massive opportunity for the younger players. Because that is the chance to impress against another AFL side.

Every year the young players that do well in the preseason games put themselves in the frame for senior selection (even if it is not round 1)
 

mikey_san

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Yep agree there, although the most under-rated one for me is Wicks. I think McInerney & Foot are talked up a lot as they’re flashy players and were drafted alongside Blakey and Rowbottom, but I thought Wicks’ year in the NEAFL was far superior to those two, and he was very stiff not to earn a senior debut. That puts him right at the top of my list of the young guys not yet established at senior level if one of them was needed in the seniors.
Don't forget McInerney (Aug 2000) is a full year (almost) younger than Wicks (Sept 99). I think McInerney is going to really come on this year. Really like his speed and kick and moving into position to take a quick ball (not used by seniors in his one game).
I'll keep an eye on Wicks this preseason, hadn't really noticed him much tbh as I only watch the odd bit of reserves and rarely more than a half at a time.
 

RUNVS

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Haha - other way round for me. Very confident Gould can step in right away if needed, physically and mentally looks ready. Dylan might need a year to build his body and confidence. ITMT Gray and Taylor look to be in a good position to play a similar role if they turn up determined to make their mark. Time will tell I guess, a very interesting preseason coming up.
Agreed. Gould needs to build his fitness but that is easier to do over a preseason than it is for a young player to put on muscle. Gould is very close to being completely ready for the AFL physically.

It is all down to talent, and if Gould is talented enough for the AFL then he will be playing in 2019. He doesn't need to wait years to get his body big enough to cope with the physicality of the AFL.

Also can't help but like him too, seems like a nice guy.
 

caesar88

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Don't forget McInerney (Aug 2000) is a full year (almost) younger than Wicks (Sept 99). I think McInerney is going to really come on this year. Really like his speed and kick and moving into position to take a quick ball (not used by seniors in his one game).
I'll keep an eye on Wicks this preseason, hadn't really noticed him much tbh as I only watch the odd bit of reserves and rarely more than a half at a time.
Oh I definitely wasn’t knocking McInerney, I’m very excited by his potential. It’s just strange how Wicks doesn’t get much of a mention despite him being basically the second-best performing Swan in the NEAFL this year (IMO).
 

HighReeve

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How does this limit him? Is or how is cat b any different to cat a??
Cat A - eligible for all games,
Cat B - Need to be upgraded for selection after a senior listed player is 'inactive' (injury/retirement)

Cat A's are picked in the rookie drafts while Cat B are international players, zone academy recruits and athletes who haven't been registered with a footy club for at least 3 years, these players are added to the list without being selected in the rookie draft with a limit of 3.
 
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Kiama Chris

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Cat A - eligible for all games,
Cat B - Need to be upgraded for selection after a senior listed player is 'inactive' (injury/retirement)

Cat A's are picked in the rookie drafts while you can have up to 3 cat b's which are international players, zone academy recruits and athletes who haven't been registered with a footy club for at least 3 years
Wicks is Cat b via the academy
 

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