My ball: Mike Pyke of the Swans marks the ball during his team's clash with the Richmond Tigers. Photo: Getty Images
Sydney are edging closer to a new deal with Mike Pyke that will ensure the premiership-winning ruckman finishes his league career as a one-club player.
After re-signing midfielder Craig Bird on a two-year contract this week, the Swans are now working on retaining Pyke, who comes out of contract at the end of the season.
But, as reported by Fairfax Media last month, discussions with Nick Malceski will not recommence until the end of the season.
Fairfax Media understands the Swans had offered Pyke, 30, a one-year deal at the start of the season, which was rejected, but given his importance to the side they are now happy to offer a two-year contract.
The two parties are now working on proper remuneration rather than the length of the deal. It's believed Pyke's management has not held discussions with any rival club.
Pyke is starting to hit his straps after an injury-interrupted campaign but remains clearly the club's No.1 ruckman after Shane Mumford's departure last year.
Tom Derickx has played 12 games without cementing his position while youngsters Toby Nankervis and Sam Naismith are considered long-term project players.
The supposed salary cap squeeze created by Lance Franklin's megadeal did not stop Sydney from re-signing Bird, who joins Jarrad McVeigh, Ben McGlynn, Nick Smith and Gary Rohan to sign new deals this season.
Malceski is now shaping as the Swan most in danger of leaving the club.
In the midst of arguably his finest season, the skilled running half-back is likely to be a hot commodity despite turning 30 later this month and has already attracted interest from four clubs in Melbourne and Perth.
The Swans will be hoping the lure of team success in the ensuing years will prove as alluring for Malceski and Pyke to stay at the Swans as it was for Bird.
Bird has signed a two-year contract, after which the graduate from the 2007 draft will become a free agent.
"I always wanted to stay here. I've been here for seven to eight years now, it's been a big part of my life and really developed my football and me as a person," Bird said.
"I think we've got a pretty strong list at the moment. We're certainly going to be pushing for finals and for the flag in the next couple of years. It was definitely part of the decision to stay."
Bird, averaging 22 possessions, has become an important member of the Swans' midfield this year. Having previously played the role of a defensive forward, he has been given more roles as an inside ball-winner - a role he is relishing.
"It's probably been our strength, just the number of players we can have go through there and not relying on one or two players," Bird said of the midfield depth.
The Swans are set to recall Dan Hannebery and Lance Franklin from injury this week for their road trip to Port Adelaide.
Franklin took part in only light skill work but did not appear hampered by the knee issue that forced him out last week.
Hannebery, however, ran strongly and completed the main session in a strong pointer that his seven-week layoff will end.
"It'd be nice to have him back, he's such a crucial part of the team and just brings that outside run and gut-running," Bird said.
Port were the early season pacesetters but have fallen away since pushing the Swans to the brink of defeat in round 13. They have now lost five of their past seven games and are in danger of losing touch with the top four.
The Swans, in contrast, are building solidly to September.
"It's been OK, the loss against the Hawks was disappointing, there were a few things we had to tidy up and I thought we got back into some form last week," Bird said.
"Hopefully we can keep on improving that again. Overall our form has been pretty good this year, just a little dropoff against Hawthorn but hopefully we can bounce back and keep improving towards the end of the year which we'll have to."