‘Rival interest’ for emerging Swan Dawson

Talks on a new contract for improved Sydney utility Jordan Dawson are set to step up over the next few weeks with the South Australian’s manager saying Dawson has attracted interest from rival clubs.

Dawson, 24, has emerged as one of the Swans’ most reliable players in 2021, playing all 16 games to date, largely in defence.

Jordan Dawson celebrates a goal against the BulldogsCredit:Getty

However in recent weeks he has displayed his versatility, pushing up to the wing. The move has been inspired, with Dawson notching 25 disposals and two goals in Sydney’s thumping win over West Coast before going even better with 26 disposals and three goals in Sunday’s victory away to the Western Bulldogs, who had been ladder-leaders heading into the round.

That showing against the Dogs earned Dawson the maximum 10 votes in the AFL Coaches’ Association champion player of the year award.

Dawson’s kicking is among his greatest strengths. Of the 125 players who have kicked most into forward 50 across the AFL since 2019, Dawson ranks fourth for ball retention, with only Jamie Cripps, Jason Johannisen and Michael Walters ahead of him.

Taken at pick 56 in the 2015 draft, the 191-centimetre Dawson is due to fall out-of-contract at season’s end and has been linked back to a move to his home state and is young enough that he should still be well and truly in his prime when rebuilding Adelaide are aiming to again contend for a premiership.

However Dawson, who hails from the South Australian coastal town of Robe, has indicated he is keen to remain with Sydney.

His agent Michael Doughty of TLA said on Tuesday that “there has been rival interest” but added Dawson was “focusing on playing his best footy before ramping up talks with the Swans in the next few weeks”.

Having surged back into the top-four race in recent weeks, the Swans still have a host of players without deals for 2022. Announcements have not yet been forthcoming over the futures of co-captain Luke Parker, and veteran tall Sam Reid – both of whom are unrestricted free agents – as well as 2019 No.5 draft pick Dylan Stephens, another South Australian.

Dawson said in an interview on the Swans website after the Bulldogs game that he wasn’t fussed about what position he played.

“The coaches wanted to try a few things, chuck me on the wing and put a few guys back. It’s been good to be able to help the team, I suppose,” Dawson said.

“I don’t really mind where I play, as long as [it’s] helping the team and the team wins, that’s the main thing.”

Dawson is averaging career highs this year for disposals, kicking efficiency, rebound-50s, uncontested possessions and intercept possessions.

The Swans are resigned to being exiled from NSW for much if not all of the rest of the season because of NSW’S COVID-19 situation are exploring ways to reunite players and staff with their families.

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