Could the Swans have done better than Jetta?

by David Butler

The Sydney Swans have had 3 first round draft picks in the last 10 years.  Jarred McVeigh,  Lewis Jetta and  Gary Rohan. The dearth of first round picks is directly attributable to the consistency shown by the Swannies under the management of Paul Roos.

As a result the Swannies midfield over the last 10 years has lacked players of speed and genuine class.

Jarred Mc Veigh has provided terrific value as an onballer and was a selection well made. Gary Rohan is a second year player of great pace and skill who has played a handful of senior games showing  indications that he will in all likelihood become a top line footballer.

But Lewis Jetta may prove a waste of that precious commodity which is a first round draft pick.

As Sydney Swans fans we love the idea of Lewis Jetta. Fast, nimble, dexterous, and possessing a handy kick. He has come a long way from his home in Western Australia to follow his dream of becoming an AFL star. He has recently been blessed with a new baby and by all accounts he is much loved within the playing group.

We pray nightly to the gods of football that his career will have a Disneyesque arc and that after showing initial promise Lewie’s career will present some challenges which he will eventually overcome and emerge as a much loved and respected AFL footballer.

We take our teams to our hearts and invest an inordinate and unreasonable amount of emotional energy into our supporter’s role. We do head laps about when our next full forward will emerge or how we will ever replace our aging Brownlow medal winner.

Our first round draft pick is the gangly 2 year old colt which we bought at the Easter sales last year hoping to end up in the winner’s circle at Randwick or Flemington.

After barrier trialling brilliantly Lewis Jetta may fail to win at the provincials let alone in town.

For every good thing that he does there are 2 or 3 things on the negative side. He is inconsistent around goals and does not capitalise on opportunity. That can change with time and confidence.

He creates good perceived defensive pressure with his pace, yet his tackles don’t stick. Tackling is about attitude, not size. Kirky’s tackles stuck. He is great at ground level out in the open but lifts his head and fumbles when there is a crowd.

No doubt he can learn to tackle and he can develop the confidence to kick straight. But can John Longmire inject him with courage ?

We imagine in our head laps how it will all come together in time and we will take him into our hearts forever. Oh how we want to take Lewis Jetta into our hearts and love him forever. But will that skinny little bastard with the bum fluff moustache scatter in the breeze like confetti, loop de loop like yesterday’s news ? At present he is taking somebody else’s rightful place in the side.


  1. johnharms says

    As an outsider I’d have to say I haven’t noticed the traits which clearly the hardened supporter has. I see explosive pace and a mad Wojcinski-running. I’ll check him out v the Dogs.

  2. Mulcaster says

    To publicly say that a man lacks courage is harsh and unfair.
    No player has a real chance to answer such a charge.
    If he has not lived up to expectations so be it.
    I would think that it takes an extraordinary amount of courage to pull on the boots and play at the highest level.
    To play infront of a crowd can be no easy thing.
    There is a difference between courage and being crazy brave, I susppect you are looking for the latter.

  3. Bloody hell. He is in his second year in the AFL. David Mundy, who made his AFL debut in 2005, came good in 2010. Comparing Jetta to Brett Kirk is totally unfair… but perfect. Didn’t someone at the Swans send Kirk home? Imagine if he’d stayed.

  4. david butler says

    Mulcaster, I take on board your comments and agree that what these blokes do is no easy thing, particularly when you are ten stone wringing wet. There is no way that I would have the guts to do what they do! If I prove to be wrong about Jetta I will ring the club and ask to speak with him so that I can personally apologise. No, I don’t want him to be crazy brave, that is for blokes like Mattner, Bolton and Richards. I do want him to put his head over the footy and win a free kick now and again. My article comes from the frustration of seeing so much potential in this kid and badly wanting him to succeed.

    Les, this bloke is 22 years old and has played almost every game since being drafted. He has played in a WAFL grand final. I am happy for him to come in and out of the side as he grows as a player. But does he have the commitment required to succeed among a community of driven individuals ? That is my question. I only compare him to Kirky to illustrate the point that skinny little blokes can tackle too. Any comparison ends there.

  5. And?

  6. david butler says

    I think the saying is “picked it like a broken nose” ! Drafting the mea culpa as we speak.

  7. I remember seeing Stephen Michael on debut for South Fremantle in 1975 and thinking, “No, he’s not much good.”

  8. david butler says

    I thought the same when I saw Ned Zelic as an 18 year old playing for Sydney Olympic. I also thought we had wasted a good draft pick on Darren Jolly in his first half dozen games for the Swans.

    Jetta is a bit different as he had obvious talent from the start but looked a little flaky. The other thing swirling in my mind about Jetta was that West Coast had apparently wanted to take him as their first round draft pick but changed their mind late allowing the Swans to get him. Because he was from WA I presumed that they might have known something about him. Dennis Commetti made a couple of comments about Jetta last year which made me think rightly or wrongly that he also questioned Jetta’s endeavour.

    In any event good luck to Lewis Jetta I am well pleased for him.

  9. DBalassone says

    Many are speculating that Lewis Jetta is a chance for All-Australian selection this season…so I find this a tad harsh,

  10. When Lewis Jetta first came to the city from Bunbury to play colts for Swan Districts he got homesick… as country boys sometimes do. Swans then got his older brother Graham to come to Perth and put them up in a house with one or two other players and a bloke who looked after them, taught them to cook, showed them how to the survive in the city and all that stuff. Lewis had a sensational year for Swans in 2009 and, in my opinion was BOG in the WAFL vs SANFL game. Those goals on the run were regular events. The bonus for Swan Districts was that Graham trimmed down, made it into the league team, played in the Andrew Krakouer grand final winning team in 2010 and a couple of weeks ago represented the WAFL against the SANFL. He’s a different shape, plays in defence and can run.

  11. DBalassone says

    Apologies David, just realised this piece re Jetta was a thread from last year that had been revivied by Les (I take it because of Jetta’s great form this year). I will read the dates next time! He is a brilliant player to watch.

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