Isaac Heeney is looking forward to tussling with fellow Swans hard nut Luke Parker in next week's AFLX, but aims to get faster and go up a level in 2019, after the first full pre-season of his career.
Parker was drafted for Patrick Dangerfield's Bolts side, while Heeney was one of three Swans, along with Josh Kennedy and Aliir Aliir, picked up by Nat Fyfe's Flyers, for the four-team competition at Marvel Stadium.
"Parks is on a different side, so it will be good to maybe give him a couple up under the ribs, Heeney said with a smile on Saturday.
While he started his senior career as a key forward, Heeney has gained more midfield minutes over the past two seasons and seeks more in 2019.
With Parker and Kennedy shouldering much of the ball-winning responsibility in recent years, 22-year-old Heeney acknowledged the importance of younger players, including himself, stepping up in that vital department.
"George Hewett is coming along really well as well and has had some consistent years so he'll dig in deep and get in there with the other two lads," Heeney said.
But if I can jump in there myself and Millsy (Callum Mills) in the guts and get some contested footy, that would be nice as well."
Swans insiders say Heeney has done a ton of work in the pre-season and is set for huge year.
"I've had a full pre-season now, whereas the last four years it's been extremely interrupted," 'Heeney said.
"I've done nearly every session, so I'm feeling strong and I'm feeling like I can have a consistent year.
"I want to take my game to the next level."
Heeney has worked on improving his start-up speed.
"It's just working on the first three, four, five metres, just really technique work, so with our strength and conditioning coaches just doing extra sprint work at the end of the sessions," he said.
Heeney won mark of the year in 2018 for a great grab down back, but he's hoping the return from injury of swingman Sam Reid means he wont be deployed in defence late in games as he was last year.
"It's nervy down back, I'm not the biggest fan of it, so if he (Reid) can come back ... then he can slip into that role," Henney said.
While there's talk Lance Franklin could be in doubt for round one after recovering from groin surgery, Heeney said the star forward was looking good.
"It's a long year so we'll wait till he's 100 per cent before he plays,"' he said.
Australian Associated Press