THE Sydney Swans players are spreading their wings this week and four of them have landed in the region.
Tommy Walsh and George Hewett are in Tamworth and will visit Farrer, St Nicholas’ and McCarthy today.
Former Gunnedah star Sam Naismith and Patrick Mitchell will do the same in Armidale, stopping in at Ben Venue, Armidale City and O’Connor.
They also had a session with students from Armidale High and Duval High yesterday afternoon.
There was also a junior Auskick session, with the boys then training with the New England Nomads.
Walsh and Hewett had a similar program, although had slightly warmer conditions to contend with.
For Irish-born Walsh, the sweltering heat in Tamworth was a bit of an eye-opener.
He is heading into his third season at the Swans after originally coming out to join St Kilda.
“I’d obviously heard a bit about it (the competition),” he said.
“I got an offer to come over.
“It was a chance to come over and experience a professional set-up.”
The forward had a frustrating 2013, tearing his hamstring off the bone against Essendon in round 10, which was just his second game for the year, and being ruled out of the rest of the season.
He is still getting it right.
“I’m still about four to six weeks away from getting back to full training,” he said.
There has been a fair bit of hype around the Swans over the off-season with the signing of Hawthorn star Lance “Buddy” Franklin.
Hewett is another new pick-up.
The 18-year old South Australian mid-fielder was the Swans’ second overall pick in last year’s draft.
He is described as having good awareness and vision, allowing him to set up the play from the midfield.
Walsh said it was good to be able to come out to the regional areas.
“I suppose because we live in the city, we only really see the supporters there,” he said.
“It’s good to come out and see how big the Swans are.”
To reiterate that, as our photo shows, there were a few of the young enthusiasts sporting Swans jerseys at the Auskick session.
Walsh and Hewett also last night attended an open training session with the Tamworth Kangaroos and Swans.