CHRISTMAS came early for the Sydney Swans last year after they secured Isaac Heeney with selection No.18 in the national draft.
Rated the best player in the draft by some judges, the Swans were able to get the New South Wales youngster because he had been a member of the club's development academy.
The move prompted an outcry from other clubs, with the AFL set to announce a new rating system this month for academy and father-son prospects, designed to force clubs to give up more for highly-rated youngsters such as Heeney, potentially multiple draft selections.
Coach John Longmire has already said he was likely to select the 18-year-old, who has been given former club champion Ryan O'Keefe's No.5 jumper, in the opening game of the season against Essendon.
Heeney is one of a group of seven players in the Swans squad for tonight's match against Brisbane at Coffs Harbour who are yet to make their AFL debut.
The squad also has plenty of experience, with Jarrad McVeigh, Kurt Tippett, Lance Franklin, Adam Goodes and Ted Richards the only senior players set to sit out the match.
The Lions have included ruckman Stefan Martin after the big man was rested from last weekend's 7.16 (58) to 8.7 (55) win against St Kilda at Burpengary.
Former Geelong small forward Allen Christensen is still recovering from back surgery but is expected to make his debut for the Lions in the final NAB Challenge match against the Gold Coast Suns on March 20.
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