Dane Swan

Dane Swan (born 25 February 1984) is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the Collingwood Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL).[1] Swan was drafted with pick 58 in the 2001 AFL draft, and made his debut in his second season. Despite having a slow start to his career, being unable to hold down a spot in the side for the bulk of his first three seasons, Swan has since become recognised as one of the greatest midfielders in the modern era. Since his breakout season in 2007, Swan has become a premiership player, a Brownlow Medallist, a three-time Copeland Trophy recipient, and a five-time All-Australian, and in 2010, won the Leigh Matthews Trophy as the league's most valuable player. Known as a prolific ball-winner, Swan averaged almost 27 disposals per game over his career. Swan was runner-up in the 2017 I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, on Network Ten.

Dane Swan
Swan playing in a Collingwood intra-club match in 2015.
Personal information
Full name Dane Swan
Date of birth (1984-02-25) 25 February 1984
Place of birth Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Original team(s) Calder Cannons (TAC Cup)
Draft No. 58, 2001 national draft
Height 185 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 93 kg (205 lb)
Position(s) Midfielder
Playing career
Years Club Games (Goals)
2002–2016 Collingwood 258 (211)
International team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
2010 Australia 2 (0)
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Early life

Swan was born in Melbourne to Billy and Deidre Swan. He is a direct descendant of Thomas Flanagan, an Irish convict transported to Australia in 1849.[2] His father Billy Swan was a highly decorated footballer in the VFA, winning the J. J. Liston Trophy twice and playing a league record 302 games with Port Melbourne and Williamstown from 1976–1993.[3]

He grew up playing junior football for the Westmeadows Football Club in the Essendon District Football League, and attended St. Bernard's College in Essendon before playing his under 18 football with the Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup.

Swan's performances at the Calder Cannons were ordinary and he was perceived by some recruiters to be a larrikin with questionable kicking accuracy and work ethic,[4] however Collingwood showed an interest in him as a potential late maturer in the mould of his father.[5]


Swan was recruited by the Collingwood Football Club with pick 58 in the 2001 AFL draft. He made his debut in June 2003 at the age of 19,[3] though he only played three games (against the Western Bulldogs, Richmond and Essendon).[1] Swan managed just 30 games in his first four seasons in the system at Collingwood, and although he played some solid football in that time, he was not regarded as outstanding. He played much of this time with Williamstown, which was then Collingwood's VFL-affiliate, and he was a member of its 2003 premiership team.[6]

In 2006, he broke through, playing 21 games and finished sixth in the Copeland Trophy voting. Swan mainly rotated through the midfield and moved forward when required. His first nine weeks were productive, averaging nearly 26 disposals and kicked 15 goals, before a hamstring injury suffered against Brisbane Lions in round ten sidelined him until round thirteen.

2007 was considered his breakout season as he placed fourth in the Copeland Trophy and was a surprise packet at the Brownlow, leading for most of the night before finishing sixth with 20 votes.


The 2008 Copeland Trophy winner had a strong year averaging twenty-five disposals, seven marks, three tackles and one goal a game. Swan led the team in total disposals (590) and kicks (368), second in marks (163), and third in handballs (222) and tackles (75). He had 14 games of 25 possessions or more and kicked two or more goals on six occasions. Round 10 against West Coast was one of Swan’s best collecting 34 possessions, 10 marks and two goals. In round 14 against Sydney, he had 30 touches and 13 marks.


In the 2009 season, Swan averaged 31.8 disposals, 7.8 marks, 3.0 tackles and 5.4 inside-50s per game. He was one of the AFL's most prolific ball winners, along with being an in-and-under specialist winning the contested ball at most stoppages whilst also running hard.

In Collingwood's 2009 round 10 clash against Port Adelaide, Swan obtained 48 possessions, 22 kicks and 26 handballs.[1] This was the best disposal count in a decade and was then the third highest recorded disposals count in one match, behind Greg Williams' 53 and Tony Shaw's 50. It was a record since the length of game quarters was shortened from 25 minutes to 20 minutes in 1994, until surpassed in round 22, 2011 by Adelaide's Scott Thompson (51 disposals).

He was ranked third for total inside-50s, fourth in total goal assists, first in total kicks, fourteenth in total handballs, first in total disposals, tenth in total marks, fifth in inside-50s per game, thirteenth in goal assists per game, second in kicks per game, second in disposals per game. He was voted runner up at the AFLPA MVP awards (polling 584 votes), finishing behind Gary Ablett (688). He was regarded as one of the front runners for the Brownlow Medal, but finished outside the top ten.

Swan was selected in the 2009 All-Australian team, but controversially as a half forward flanker, rather than as a midfielder, which is his usual position.[7]


Swan averaged 31.8 disposals, including 19 kicks per game, totalling a then AFL record 820 disposals for the season[8]. On 6 September, Swan won the AFL Players Association MVP Award (Leigh Matthews Trophy) after a vote by the players. That year he was also elected as the ruck-rover for the All-Australian team. His consistent season was a cornerstone to Collingwood's fifteenth premiership, to the point of having his tattoos referenced on the Herald Sun premiership poster. Swan finished third in the Brownlow Medal count, having started favourite. On 31 October in the International Rules Series he won the Jim Stynes Medal. At the conclusion of the season, Swan became only the fourth ever Collingwood player to win three consecutive Copeland Trophies.[9]


With Swan's contract at Collingwood due to expire at the end of 2011, there was much pre-season media speculation over a possible move to new AFL club Greater Western Sydney.[10] This was put to rest during the lead-up week to the season's commencement when Collingwood announced that Swan had signed a new three-year deal, committing him to the club until the end of 2014.[11] Swan started 2011 in the same good form as 2010. He attained 40 disposals in round 2 against North Melbourne but sustained a quad injury close to the midway point of the season and his form deteriorated. Collingwood decided to send Swan, with team mates Brent Macaffer, Darren Jolly and Nathan Brown, to a high altitude training camp in Arizona in an attempt to help the players recover faster from their individual injuries. The trip proved effective for Swan, with an immediate effect on his playing performances. In the next six games after his return, he had an average of 35.3 disposals per game with a strong effort against Essendon with 45 possessions and a goal. He later won the 2011 Brownlow Medal with 34 votes – setting a new record for the most votes polled in a count under the 3-2-1 system, which was later surpassed by Patrick Dangerfield in 2016.[12]


Swan received some criticism early on in the 2012 season and was accused of being unfit and "too fat".[13] In the annual Anzac Day clash, Swan won his first Anzac Day medal as best on ground after a one-point win over Essendon, with forty-two possessions, three goals and six tackles during the game.[14] Swan missed two games midway through the season due to a hamstring injury, then returned for the Queen's Birthday clash in Round 11 against Melbourne, where he finished with a game high 42 possessions. Strong performances over the following two months saw Swan rise in the Brownlow Medal betting, to become one of the favourites behind Jobe Watson, Scott Thompson and Gary Ablett. Swan was later found to have broken a pledge made by the playing group to abstain from drinking alcohol for the remainder of the season. He was suspended for two games as a result. Swan had over 40 disposals in six different games, reaching a new career high of 49 against Hawthorn in the round 17 loss, he also didn't have below 25 disposals. Swan over the home and away season averaged 35.7 disposals (career high and AFL record since stats were recorded) and 1.2 goals a game. Despite missing four home and away games Swan still finished fourth in the Brownlow Medal count and averaged more votes per game than anyone else in the top ten.[15] He was named on the bench in the All-Australian team, his fourth selection in his career.[16]


Swan started the season averaging 30 possessions in the first three matches. In round 4, Swan played his 200th AFL game against an unbeaten Richmond, producing an almost best on ground performance (thirty-five disposals, six marks and one goal) and was only bettered by teammate Travis Cloke, who kicked a career best seven goals.[17] At the end of the year Swan averaged 31.2 disposals, 5.7 marks, 3.4 tackles, and 5.2 inside 50s per game. He finished first in overall disposals, and equal seventh in total inside-50s. Swan was selected as the ruck-rover in the 2013 All-Australian team, the fifth consecutive year he was included. Swan finished third in the Brownlow Medal with 26 votes, losing by two to the winner Gary Ablett, and one to second placed Joel Selwood.


After wrist surgery in the off season, Swan started the season slowly, with an average of 22 disposals in the first three rounds, including just sixteen disposals in round 2. It didn't take long for him to find his form though, including thirty-five disposals and eleven marks against North Melbourne, and twenty-six disposals and four goals against Essendon to earn him his second ANZAC medal.


After 2014, a year that Swan described as putrid,[18] Swan returned to career best form in 2015, averaging twenty-nine disposals and one goal per game, as well as reaching the 250 game milestone. Swan notched 30 disposals in 11 games during 2015, and played every game in 2015 apart from Collingwood's round 23 clash against Essendon due to a knee injury he sustained the week before.[19] Although Collingwood missed the finals, Swan arguably proved to critics that at the age of 31 he is still able to play high quality football at an elite level.[20]


In the round one clash against Sydney, Swan was badly injured after landing awkwardly on his foot, breaking three bones, including a Lisfranc.[21][22] The injury ruled him out of the rest of the season, and in August he announced his immediate retirement from the AFL.[23]


A prolific ball-winner, particularly in the latter part of his career, Swan was the season leader in the AFL in total disposals on four occasions and in total kicks on five occasions. Swan accumulated an average of 26.85 disposals per game during his AFL career, which at the time of his retirement was the second highest average of all time behind only Greg Williams (26.88 per game).[24]

 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Led the league for the home-and-away season only
Led the league after finals only
Led the league for the home-and-away season and after finals
Played in that season's premiership team
Won that season's Brownlow Medal
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T Votes
Totals Averages (per game)
2002 Collingwood 3600
2003 Collingwood 36300141327430.
2004 Collingwood 3613251056617149180.
2005 Collingwood 3614321439123467220.
2006 Collingwood 36211912311176487168440.90.614.88.423.28.02.111
2007 Collingwood 36251314422173595187850.50.616.96.923.87.53.420
2008 Collingwood 36242223368222590163750.
2009 Collingwood 36251825444325769161770.71.017.813.
2010 Collingwood 362624235053158201461230.90.919.412.
2011 Collingwood 36243223472288760129771.31.019.712.
2012 Collingwood 36212522442283725138711.
2013 Collingwood 36232121436281717131790.90.919.
2014 Collingwood 3617111224418042479490.60.714.410.624.94.62.917
2015 Collingwood 36212114336273609104811.00.716.
2016 Collingwood 36100000000.
Career 258 211 196 4242 2686 6928 1526 804 0.8 0.8 16.4 10.4 26.9 5.9 3.1 186

Honours and achievements


In 2003, Swan was arrested with two others following a brawl at Federation Square in which a security guard (Jesse James) was knocked unconscious, [26] and another man (Claudio Celano) was left with a permanent brain injury.[27]

Swan was charged with 13 offences, including assault, affray and intentionally causing serious injury.[28] Swan was convicted of affray and ordered to perform 100 hours community service.[29]

Mr Celano, who suffered a permanent brain injury, sued his three assailants and in a settlement, Swan and the other offenders agreed to make payment of $100,000 to Mr Celano.[30] However, in 2009 Mr Celano again sued Swan and the other offenders because they had failed to make payment as agreed[31] and Swan was penalised for that failure to make payment.[32] Mr Celano's lawyer noted that Swan and the other offenders had not made any apology to his client.[33]

In an interview in 2010, Swan detailed how close the incident came to ending his football career. Coach Mick Malthouse gave him a second chance, believing that Swan did not deserve to have his career derailed because of one stupid decision.[34][35] In a further interview in 2017, Swan stated he had 'no regrets' about the incident which left one man unconscious and another with a permanent brain injury. [36]

In July 2010, Swan was hit in the mouth at a nightclub.[37]

In August 2012, Swan received an internal two-match suspension from the Collingwood senior team for breaking team rules – specifically, a pledge by the playing group to abstain from alcohol between late July and the end of the season.[38]

In June 2014, Swan attended a fundraising event hosted by John Gatto, the brother of underworld figure Mick Gatto. Collingwood president Eddie McGuire had no problem with the incident.[39]

In May 2018, explicit video footage of Swan was leaked, leading to a police investigation.[40][41]


  1. "Dane Swan – Statistics". Retrieved on 3 August 2009
  2. Flanagan, Martin (7 September 2013). "Relatively curious about Dane Swan", The Age. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  3. Karen Lyon, 29 June 2003. "Refreshed Pies chalk up impressive win". The Age, Retrieved on 3 August 2009
  4. Baum, Greg (17 July 2010). "Dane Swan: The illusionist". The Age. Melbourne.
  5. McFarlane, Glenn (19 September 2010). "The 'super draft' nine years ago is ready to yield another Brownlow Medal winner". Sunday Herald Sun.
  6. Paul Amy (21 September 2011). "Billy Swan backs Port Melbourne to win VFL premiership". Leader. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  7. Sheahan, Mike (1 September 2009). "Selectors caught out of position on Dane Swan". Archived from the original on 5 September 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
  8. https://afltables.com/afl/stats/teams/allteams/playershi.html
  9. Edmund, Sam (9 December 2010). "Copeland Trophy win proves Dane Swan is one of the greats at Collingwood". Herald Sun. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
  10. "Massive year awaits Collingwood". The Age. Melbourne. 8 March 2011.
  11. "Swan a Magpie for life". The Age. Melbourne. 23 March 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  12. Jennifer Witham, 26 September 2011. "Magpie swoops on Brownlow" Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. AFL, Retrieved on 26 September 2011
  13. Edmund, Sam (23 April 2012). "Dane Swan slams critics who say he's overweight". Herald Sun. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  14. Edmund, Sam (25 April 2012). "Collingwood midfielder Dane Swan kicks back with Anzac Medal-winning performance". Herald Sun. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  15. McFarlane, Glenn (8 August 2012). "Magpies' flag campaign rocked by Dane Swan suspension". Herald Sun.
  16. Mason, Luke (17 September 2012). "Swan, Pendles and Beams named All-Australians". Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  17. http://www.afl.com.au/match-centre/2013/4/rich-v-coll
  18. "Swan Determined To Regain AFL Form". Triple M Melbourne. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  19. "AFL 2015: Collingwood defeats Geelong by 48 points at MCG in Round 22". 29 August 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  20. "Dane Swan - collingwoodfc.com.au". collingwoodfc.com.au. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  21. Ben, Guthrie (30 March 2016). "Swan's foot injury 'like a car crash', says sports medico". AFL.com.au. Bigpond. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  22. Wood, Lauren (27 March 2016). "Dane Swan suffers fractured fibula and foot in Collingwood's loss to Sydney". Herald Sun.
  23. McFarlane, Glenn; Salemme, Kate (23 August 2016). "AFL: Collingwood star Dane Swan decides to retire". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  24. "Disposals". AFL Tables.
  25. "Dane Swan". AFL Tables. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  26. "Bouncer seeks compo over brawl with Dane Swan", Daniel Fogarty, Herald Sun, 23 October 2008.]
  27. https://amp.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/afl/dane-swan-sued-over-brawl/news-story/849d502951a0b97fa6006b6d6e2b211c
  28. Moynihan, Stephen (3 September 2004). "Magpie Dane Swan faces 13 charges". The Age. Melbourne.
  29. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-23/magpies-dane-swan-calls-it-a-day/7776842
  30. https://amp.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/collingwood-star-dane-swan-accused-of-welshing-on-payment-to-bashed-cleaner/news-story/7ddafbe7a3e73289c5ba8f30eae13cfb
  31. https://amp.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/collingwood-star-dane-swan-accused-of-welshing-on-payment-to-bashed-cleaner/news-story/7ddafbe7a3e73289c5ba8f30eae13cfb
  32. https://amp.news.com.au/national/afl-dane-swan-star-fined-for-settlement-default/news-story/49c3b3108c41a8bb296114eddb1d10d2
  33. https://amp.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/collingwood-star-dane-swan-accused-of-welshing-on-payment-to-bashed-cleaner/news-story/7ddafbe7a3e73289c5ba8f30eae13cfb
  34. "AFL Dane Swan star fined for settlement default". AAP. 10 November 2009. Archived from the original on 11 November 2009.
  35. http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/afl/dane-swan-i-thought-i-was-going-to-be-sacked/story-e6frepkx-1225914267306
  36. https://www.triplem.com.au/story/dane-swan-reveals-how-much-his-2003-arrest-cost-him-17972
  37. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/afl/i-wanted-to-fight-back-dane-swan/story-e6freck3-1225898475002
  38. McFarlane, Glenn (9 August 2012). "Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says Dane Swan has lost trust". Herald Sun. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  39. Ralph, Jon; Staff writers (12 June 2014). "Collingwood boss Gary Pert says Dane Swan did nothing wrong attending event with links to Mick Gatto". Herald Sun. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  40. "Dane Swan furious after explicit video leaked online". Yahoo! 7 News. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  41. "Police investigating video featuring naked AFL player and woman leaked online". news.com.au. 4 May 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
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