Swans boss Andrew Pridham has provided a scathing assessment of critics who have put down his club's academy system.
Sydney have gotten off to a scintillating start in season 2021, dismantling the reigning premiers Richmond at the MCG on Saturday and remaining undefeated after three rounds.
However, there has been much criticism leveled at the Swans, specifically their academy system and the advantage that it gives them.
"As soon as Sydney play well, what do the AFL stronghold people do? They attack the Sydney Academy - it's so lame, it's so predictable, and it's so unnecessary."@RalphyHeraldSun with @ghall27 on #RSNCentral
— RSN927am (@RSN927) April 6, 2021
“We have outrageously rookied a kid like Sam Wicks who no one else picked. Go figure," Pridham said.
"As for Geelong if you talk about advantages, my god they have (Patrick) Dangerfield, Jeremy Cameron, (Gary) Rohan, (Isaac) Smith, they are in a town that houses the Geelong Falcons.
"They have players keen to play there and it’s so cheap to live there. They are spending 300 bucks a week to live in an eight-bedroom house. The bottom line is it has never been a level playing field.
“So anyone who is attacking us and wants to see anything happen to the academies, you could say goodbye to the father-son system.”
Sydney's youngsters have been instrumental in getting the team to where they are this season.
Errol Gulden, Braeden Campbell, Sam Wicks, Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills, Nick Blakey and Sam Naismith all came through the Sydney academy, with six of them featuring on the weekend in their emphatic win.
Braeden Campbell's kicking skills are outstanding.
— AFL (@AFL) April 3, 2021
Gulden, who went at pick 32 in the National Draft, would not have been playing AFL football if it wasn't for the academy according to his father, with the young gun possibly choosing to play soccer instead.
Speaking to SEN, Gulden expressed his gratitude for the institution.
"I wouldn’t be where I am without them," he said.
"They make you really aware of all the little things and one percenters that can get you to the top level and being drafted."
The noise has been mostly coming from Victorian sides, with many clubs up in arms about the academy and the unfairness of it.
Speaking on Footy Classified on Monday night, Geelong coach Chris Scott put in his two cents on the issue.
"I think the key question for the competition needs to be 'what price do they pay?'," he said.
"No one can argue that it‘s not good for the game to get the best talent playing AFL footy in New South Wales."
The Swans are flying high, with many rival fans scared about the potential of the side if this is how ruthless and clinical they are at a young age.
Chad Warner was awarded with a Rising Star nomination in Round 3, meaning the Swans currently boast all three nominations for the season so far after Gulden and Campbell were selected in rounds 1 and 2 respectively.
Sydney go back-to-back-to-back!
For the first time ever we have three consecutive AFL Rising Star nominations from the same club.
— AFL (@AFL) April 6, 2021
Sydney welcome the Bombers to the SCG on Thursday night, with John Longmire's side aiming to make it 4-0.