IF GARY Ablett has been the best player of the past decade, then Isaac Heeney might be the best player of the next decade, according to Carlton legend Robert Walls.
It comes after the 22-year-old dominated in Sunday’s stunning win over Melbourne at the MCG, going behind the ball in the last quarter where he took three crucial marks — including one of the grabs of the year — to win Sydney the game when it mattered.
The young gun produced a mix of everything he has done so far in his first four seasons in the AFL.
He won plenty of his own ball, collecting 19 disposals and 10 contested possessions, laid big tackles and kicked two important goals.
And now Walls believes the Swans’ academy product could quickly pass the likes of Nat Fyfe, Dustin Martin and Patrick Dangerfield to become the best player in the game over the next ten years.
“I’m a bit loathed to say this, but he could be the player of the next decade,” Walls said on AFL Tonight on Monday.
“He can play up forward, he can read the play in defence, he is an A-grade midfielder and he is just an animal in as far as being hungry for the football.
“I’m a super fan of his.”
The former premiership coach praised John Longmire’s decision to shift Heeney into defence at crucial times in the past fortnight, with the gutsy wins over Collingwood and Melbourne almost guaranteeing them a finals berth.
“I’ve seen that two weeks in a row now when the game has been in the balance, John Longmire has moved Heeney back and he has been terrific,” Walls said.
“He has read the play perfectly — that to me is just about the mark of the year.
“He was also desperate; he put a couple of really good spoils on in desperate situations.”
With Greater Western Sydney and Hawthorn to come in the final two rounds, the Swans have one of the toughest runs to September, but should still scrape in even if they lose both games.