SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 01: Dylan Stephens of the Swans celebrates kicking a goal during the round seven AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Geelong Cats at Sydney Cricket Ground on May 01, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The impending salary cap squeeze facing Sydney is beginning to pose some big headaches for their list management team.

After Luke Parker re-signed on four-year deal earlier this week, the Swans have now turned their attention to several other guns they risk losing.

Former Pick 5 in the 2019 draft, Dylan Stephens, is reportedly 'assessing' his options and won't be short of suitors.

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Fox Footy's Tom Morris has reported to AFL Tonight that Essendon has now joined Adelaide in the race for the highly-rated 20-year-old.

Drafted as a classy left-footed midfielder who could play both on the wing and on the inside, Stephens has struggled for game time in the Sydney's deep line-up. After only managing only six games in 2021, rival clubs believe the youngster is now looking for more opportunities elsewhere.

“There’s definite interest from Adelaide, there’s also interest from Essendon. If you remember back 12 months ago, Essendon were successful in poaching Jye Caldwell from the GWS Giants two years into his career – a first-round pick,” Morris said.

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“They’re looking to do the same again, this time with Dylan Stephens. The recruiters I’ve spoken to today, not at the Swans, they believe his best position is an outside midfielder more than an inside midfielder.

“He was starved of senior opportunities this year, he clearly wants to have more senior opportunities. It’s just whether he feels that’s going to be at the Swans, where a two-year deal is on the table, or at Essendon. Watch this space with Dylan Stephens.”

The Swans will also have to fight to re-sign the talented Jordan Dawson with rival clubs circling the 24-year-old.

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Dawson has enjoyed a break-out season in 2021, highlighted by playing in every game for the Swans. His classy disposal and rebounding off half-back has the two Adelaide-based clubs desperate to lure the 24-year-old back home to South Australia.

“There was a time a couple of weeks ago when there was a belief he was going to stay at the Swans. That has now flipped,” Morris said.

“Both clubs feel like they are, to varying degrees, in with a chance to get him. They presented long-term offers on good money. The Adelaide Crows, especially, have money to spend.

“If he does ask to be traded to Adelaide – and that is a big if – the Crows are quietly confident they won’t be parting with Pick 4 – and that could lead to a very tense and interesting deliberation between the Swans’ list management team and Adelaide, if it does get that far.”

Sydney also face losing hard-bodied midfielder George Hewett with Carlton 'leading' in the race to secure the 25-year-old. Contract talks have reportedly stalled with Hewett now 'likely' to depart the Swans during the off-season.

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Hewett is among the likes of Callum Sinclair, Sam Reid and Sam Wicks who are also currently uncontracted beyond 2021.

“Plenty to consider for Charlie Gardiner – the head of football who does most of the list management stuff – but also Kiner Beetson – who’s an experienced recruiting and list boss at the Sydney Swans – over the next few weeks,” Morris said.

“As they look to reshape their list ahead of next year, make sure everyone can fit in, but also have a list that’s capable of making the top four and winning a flag next year.

“There’s still a few pieces of the puzzle that haven’t been put together yet, and those names are at the very top of the pile.”