The former Gippsland Power playmaker had reportedly received interest from Victorian clubs including Carlton who are actively looking to boost their attack, with the widespread understanding he was out of contract at the end of the 2020 season.
However, AFL.com.au’s Callum Twomey broke the news on Wednesday that Papley has fulfilled a trigger clause in his contract which sees him at the Swans until the end of 2023.
Papley was Sydney’s first pick in the 2016 rookie draft (at pick 14) and debuted in 2016. He has played at least 20 games in each of his four seasons and this year advanced his standing as one of Sydney’s most important young players.
The Swans are currently in a rebuilding phase which includes the ongoing rise of Will Hayward, Nick Blakey and Oliver Florent joining the likes of Papley, Isaac Heeney and Callum Mills as potential regular match winners.
The contract news would be disappointing for clubs such as Carlton seeking proven small forwards, but encouraging for Sydney fans in the wake of rumours surrounding Zak Jones’s imminent departure.
Despite the recent retirements of Jarrad McVeigh, Heath Grundy and Kieren Jack, Sydney maintains a partially aging list including Lance Franklin (currently 32 years old), Josh Kennedy (31), Sam Reid and Daniel Menzel (both 28 next season). Therefore, the 23-year-old, 82-game Papley is increasingly seen by the Swans as a much-required player.
Furthermore, Papley recently announced he had no plans to depart Sydney and has not publicly sought a trade. This year was his first in Sydney’s leadership group, as he played every game and kicked 37 goals.