Swans’ draft strategy revealed

Simon Dalymple, the National Recruiting Manager at the Sydney Swans, spoke to AFL NSW/ACT’s Play On podcast, hosted by Ryan O’Keefe and Simon Smyth.

Dalrymple’s appearance on the podcast is timely, with just one week to go until the best young talent will be chewing their fingernails watching the NAB AFL Draft, which takes place on Wednesday 24 and Thursday 24 November.

He gave listeners an insight into the Swans’ draft strategy:

“We have a pretty simple strategy – and a lot of the recruiters say the same thing – in terms of the early picks, it’s all about getting the best player available. I’ve been really big on that. It’s fraught with danger if you go a specific type of player too early. The player’s got to be good enough.”

Dalrymple also described what he thinks makes a good side – and he has experience here, having been responsible for building the Bulldogs’ 2016 Premiership list.

“I’m a big fan that you need a good midfield to be successful, and you need depth,” he said.

Dalrymple joined the Swans in 2018 and he’s been impressed with the NSW talent, specifically referencing Errol Gulden and Braeden Campbell’s breakout debut seasons in 2021.

When offering advice for the next generation, he said high performance starts at an early age: “U16s is really important because it gives the boys and the girls great learnings that they can then implement over the next two years before they’re draftable.”

According to Dalrymple, the best players are those cleanest with the ball. It’s a simple philosophy and one which he watched closely at the Bulldogs, with Daniel Cross and Matthew Boyd some of the best he’d seen. “If you can be clean with your ball handling, have the footy in your hand so there’s no fumbling it gives you time to execute your skills,” he said. (We’d argue Dane Rampe and Callum Mills are pretty handy in the clean department!)

As for advice for young players, Dalrymple keeps it straightforward: “Keep working on your game. Don’t be satisfied with where you’re at. You might be one of the better players in your local region, but there’ll be better players around Australia who will be working on their game and will go past you.”

Great advice from a wise head who makes some tough decisions!


Listen to the Play On episode featuring Simon Dalrymple on Spotify or Apple Podcasts or in the player below.