The Sydney Swans have been given a multimillion-dollar weapon to help close what Sydney Swans co-captain Dane Rampe calls a “clear” gap on their premiership rivals in 2023.
A grand final thrashing at the hands of Geelong was a sad end to what was an otherwise uber-successful year for coach John Longmire’s emerging team, which exceeded most expectations to reach the last day in September.
An already quality playing list has been given the best possible opportunity to extract every ounce of ability this season with the opening of the “incredible” new training facility at the Royal Hall of Industries.
The Swans playing and coaching group has been using and exploring every part of the multipurpose facility, called “Sydney Swans HQ”, which will house their AFL, AFLW and academy programs under one roof.
“It’s pretty incredible,” Rampe said.
“Makes you proud to be part of something which has had a lot of work go in to it; a lot of people have put blood, sweat and tears in to it and we want to do everyone proud now and make the most of it.”
Rampe conceded that despite reaching the grand final, losing by 81 points was evidence the Sydney playing group still had work to do, and they had the best possible facility to get that work done.
“We’ve had a good couple of years together and we’ve proved that we can match it with the best, but there’s still a little bit of a gap,” he said.
“That’s clear and working on that gap is what we are focused on.
“The fact we were there on the final day in September can really give us confidence going forward.”
Superstar Isaac Heeney, who earlier this week spoke about how “quickly” the club reviewed last year’s loss to ensure focus was on the new season, was taken aback by the sheer size of the new facility, which features a huge indoor oval along with world-class gym and recovery equipment.
There’s also enough non-football facilities and space for players to eat, drink and relax together after getting their work done
“My favourite part is just the efficiency of day to day life; getting in, being able to do one full group in the gym. Having a massive indoor field, you can go and do extra touch and extra skills and get in to the nitty gritty of everything here,” he said.
“You kind of get lost at how big and impressive it is, but it’s a really good feel and exciting.”
Swans CEO Tom Harley said it was important for the club to be on equal terms with the rest of the competition when it came to facilities.
“Most of the clubs have state-of-the-art resources,” he told CODE sports.
“The thing that separates us is it’s a stone’s throw from our home ground. We can train, play and prepare and welcome all our members in the one space. There aren’t many clubs who can do that.”