The race for Sydney free agent Will Hayward is expected to narrow as the South Australian potentially prioritises a move to Victorian instead of his home state.

Hayward has been one of the most sought-after players in the game this year as he weighs up his future, with the Swans set to be in a tussle with several keen rivals.

Both SA clubs Adelaide and Port Adelaide have been linked to the half-forward, while Carlton and Melbourne are also said to be attempting to pry Hayward out of New South Wales.

The restricted free agent remains a strong chance to remain in the red and white beyond this year, but their hopes of retaining Hayward have been hindered by reported lucrative offers from the Crows and Blues.

While Adelaide and Port Adelaide have the advantage of potentially luring Hayward home, it is now expected that a move to one of the Melbourne-based sides is more likely.

According to reporter Jon Ralph, the Power, and likely the Crows, now stand as an outside chance to sign Hayward at year's end.

"[Port Adelaide] have been after Will Hayward, as have a lot of clubs," Ralph told Fox Footy on Thursday.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 10: Will Hayward and Sam Wicks of the Swans celebrates a goal during the 2024 AFL Round 09 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Sydney Swans at Optus Stadium on May 10, 2024 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"He's a free agent from Sydney. The expectation now at Port Adelaide though is that if he doesn't stay at Sydney, he's more likely to move to a Melbourne-based club – his partner is from Melbourne.

"I think you can effectively say that Port Adelaide are out of the race now for Will Hayward."

Hayward has enjoyed a breakout season so far for the premiership fancies Swans, booting 22 goals from 11 games to already be 13 majors off a career-best campaign.

The Swans have a number of contract calls to make over the coming months, with spearhead Logan McDonald also off-contract this year and potentially weighing up a move to his home state of Western Australia.


Midfielder Chad Warner, another WA native, also looms as a retention priority despite being contracted until the end of next year, with the in-form onballer set to earn high levels of interest over the next 12 months.