Less than a week after farewelling champion spearhead Lance 'Buddy' Franklin, Sydney has shored up its forward stocks for the future by signing Hayden McLean to a four-year deal.

McLean, 24, has taken his game to a new level in 2023, slotting 20 goals from 33 scoring shots across the course of his 21 outings to date.

The rise in form comes off the back of a 2022 season in which the Sandringham Dragons product went at better than a goal-a-game and was one of only only six Swans to have posted a major in last year's grand final disaster.

Speaking as the ink dried on his deal to keep him in the Harbour City until the cessation of 2027, the former pre-season supplemental period selection claimed that earning his shot via the hard road stood him in good stead.

“It's very exciting. I know the last few years have been very good and I'm looking forward to the next few, I'm very excited to put pen to paper,” McLean told Swans Media.

“I think I'm a bit better off for taking the harder way (to get to the AFL). Moving around and trying to fight for a spot made me appreciate having a spot at the moment and what it takes each week to compete, and I think that's front of mind to compete every week.

“Having a bit of a taste last year, to get to that spot and have a crack was a great experience for us and a great learning curve. I think being there again this year, and with the young group that we have got and the talent that has developed throughout the year together, I can see a lot of success going forward.”

The Victorian will return home with his teammates in tow on Friday week, with Sydney set to do battle against the Blues at the MCG in a do-or-die elimination final.