Walsh will become a star at Swans, reckons coach Longmire

FORMER young footballer of the year, Tommy Walsh, will be a big hit with his new AFL club Sydney Swans, according to the outfit’s head coach John Longmire.

The Tralee native, who joined the Swans from St Kilda just last month, started pre-season training with the Sydney club late last week, which included a gruelling 10km time trial at Centennial Park in Sydney. Walsh, along with new recruits Tony Armstrong and Mitch Morton, were the new faces on show as 16 players returned to training ahead of the new season, with a host of the more experienced players set to link up with the squad within the next 10 days.

Excited by the arrival of Walsh, Swans coach Longmire believes that the Kerry man has a big future ahead of him in the AFL.

“I watched Tommy in the Ireland series and was just sitting there hoping he didn’t get injured most of the time,” Longmire said. “I thought he did really well, he competed well. He still hasn’t played a game of league football yet and he has a lot of development to go, but that’s the exciting thing. We think he’s got some really good improvement in him, even though there’s some good signs at the moment.”

Following his eye-catching exertions with the victorious Ireland team in the International Rules series win over Australia, Walsh was eased back into pre-season training, sitting out the 10km run but he did, along with Mitch Morton, take part in some boxing drills later that day.

In his two years with St Kilda, Walsh never featured in an AFL match but he did play for the Saints in the NAB Cup last year. After his move to Sydney, he is expected to be given a chance to prove himself in the AFL with the Swans, who face new side Greater Western Sydney in the first round of the new season on March 24.

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