Palmer Sees No Ceiling For Swans In 2018

Friday, June 8, 2018 - 1:46 PM by Chris Pike

RHYS Palmer's motivation was always strong to show what he was still capable of in the WAFL in 2018 and is delighted to be doing so with Swan Districts and is now focused on helping the black-and-whites go as far as possible.

Palmer burst onto the scene as one of the best young players in the country back in 2007 when playing at East Fremantle and in Western Australia's State 18s side.

That saw him taken by Fremantle at No. 7 in the 2007 AFL Draft and he went to win the Rising Star Award while with the Dockers in 2008. He ended up playing 53 games at Fremantle up until leaving for the Greater Western Sydney Giants at the end of 2011.

He added a further 69 matches at the Giants before spending 2017 with Carlton where he added one more game to give him 123 in total in the AFL.

While things didn’t quite end the way he hoped last year at Carlton, after a break from football he decided he wanted to come home to WA and to play in the WAFL, it was just a matter of where he'd play.

He ended up choosing Swan Districts and he has since delivered some outstanding form for a Swans team who currently sit in fourth position on the WAFL ladder with a 5-3 record following last Saturday's 30-point win against Perth.

Palmer's form is outstanding averaging 25.4 disposals and kicking 10 goals in his seven matches while also being one of WA's best in the breakthrough win against South Australia in the State game at Adelaide Oval.

But what Palmer is even more focused on is team success with Swan Districts.

Wins the past two weeks over East Perth and Perth after a two-week break over the State game and then a Round 7 bye sees Swans well placed in fourth position ahead of this Saturday's clash with Claremont at Claremont Oval.

While Swans did have a hiccup with a 96-point loss to Subiaco back in Round 3, Palmer took positives even from that performance and sees no reason why they have to put any ceiling on what they can accomplish in 2018.

"Our form is really good and even when we played Subiaco, we had them five goals to three in the first quarter and it's just about sustaining that level," Palmer said.

"The one thing about Subiaco is that they do it for four quarters. We are seeing teams stick with them for two or three quarters, but they can't finish it off. That's a work in progress with our team too.

"We have some good young talent, but also some mature blokes who have been around and played at the top level and are having really good seasons. There's no ceiling on where we can finish this year and hopefully we can keep winning games and give ourselves a chance at the good side of the season."

As for himself, Palmer couldn’t be enjoying his time at Swan Districts any more after taking some much needed time away from football for the back half of 2017 after he and Carlton parted ways.

"I am enjoying being back in the WAFL. I took a few months after last season and made the decision to come to an agreement with Carlton after that move didn’t really work out in the end," he said.

"I made the decision to come home but didn’t make the decision on where I was going to play until the new year so I had three or four months away from footy.

"I got away to America and just enjoyed myself and relaxed because the game is so physically stressful but there's the mental side at AFL level too.

"So I just stepped away from it all with no pressure to train or keep fit and without anyone yelling at me. It was nice and then when I was away I realised I still had the passion to play and decided I would play WAFL somewhere."

Palmer initially gave East Fremantle every chance to sign him when he decided to return to the WAFL, but in the end it became obvious that wouldn’t be happening and it was Swan Districts who he just couldn’t say no to.

"When I was coming back I was keen to play for East Fremantle and obviously they haven’t been doing too well in recent years and I was pretty keen to go back there where it started," Palmer said.

"But I'm pretty close with Phil Smart, the football manager at Swans, and Adam Pickering who was coming in as coach at Swan Districts was calling me every day and making a really good impression.

"They put a nice little package together and the opportunity to do a bit of coaching with the colts was there too.

"With all those things and then obviously they made the semi finals last year so I knew the talent was there at Swan Districts. I wanted to play finals footy and I'm pretty happy with my choice so far."