Sydney Swans

The Sydney Swans are a professional Australian rules football club which plays in the Australian Football League (AFL). Established in Melbourne as the South Melbourne Football Club in 1874, the Swans relocated to Sydney in 1982, thus making it the first club in the competition to be based outside Victoria.

Sydney Swans
Full nameSydney Swans Limited[1][2]
Former name(s)South Melbourne Football Club
Swans Football Club
Nickname(s)Swans, Bloods, (previously the Blood Stained Angels)
2019 season
Home-and-away season15th
Leading goalkickerTom Papley (37 goals)
Bob Skilton MedalDane Rampe
Club details
Founded1874 (as South Melbourne Football Club)
Colours     Red      White
CompetitionAFL: Senior men
NEAFL: Reserves men
CoachAFL: John Longmire
NEAFL: Jeremy Laidler
Captain(s)AFL: Josh Kennedy/Dane Rampe/Luke Parker
PremiershipsVFL/AFL (3)VFA (5)Reserves (4) South Melbourne in italics.
Ground(s)AFL/NEAFL: Sydney Cricket Ground (48,000)
Training ground(s)Sydney Cricket Ground & Moore Park
Other information

Initially playing in the Victorian Football Association (VFA), the Swans joined seven other clubs in founding the breakaway Victorian Football League (now known as the AFL) in 1896. It won premierships in 1909, 1918 and 1933 before experiencing a 72-year premiership drought—the longest in the competition's history. The club broke the drought in 2005 and won another premiership in 2012.

The club has proven to be one of the most consistent teams in the AFL era, failing to make the finals in only four seasons since 1995, playing the most number of finals matches and winning the second-most matches overall (only behind Geelong) since 2000 and boasting a finals winning record of over 50% in the same time period.[4][5]

The Swans' headquarters and training facilities are located at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the club's playing home ground since 1982.

South Melbourne history

Origins: 1874–1876

The inauguration date of the club is officially 19 June 1874, and it adopted the name "South Melbourne Football Club" four weeks later, on 15 July.[6] In 1880, South Melbourne amalgamated with the nearby Albert-park Football Club, which had a senior football history dating back to May 1867 (Albert-park had, in fact, been known as South Melbourne during its first year of existence).[7][8] Following the amalgamation, the club retained the name South Melbourne, and adopted the club's now familiar red and white colours from Albert-park.[9] Nicknamed the "Southerners", the team was more colourfully known as the "Bloods", in reference to the bright red sash on their white jumpers[10][11] (the sash was replaced with a red "V" in 1932).[12] The colourful epithet the "Bloodstained Angels" was also in use. The club was based at Lake Oval, also home of the South Melbourne Cricket Club.

VFA era: 1877–1896

South Melbourne was a junior foundation club of the Victorian Football Association in 1877, and attained senior status in 1879;[13] The South Melbourne amalgamation with neighbouring Albert-park Football Club in 1880, formed a club that became the strongest in metropolitan Melbourne.[14] Over its first decade as an amalgamated club, South Melbourne won five VFA premierships – in 1881, 1885 (undefeated), and three-in-a-row in 1888, 1889 and 1890 – and was runner-up to the provincial Geelong Football Club in 1880, 1883 and 1886.

At the end of the 1896 season, Collingwood and South Melbourne finished equal at the top of the VFA's premiership ladder with records of 14–3–1, requiring a playoff match to determine the season's premiership; this was the first time this had occurred in VFA history.[15] The match took place on 3 October 1896 at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground. Collingwood won the match, six goals to five, in front of an estimated crowd of 12,000.[16]

This grand final would be the last match South Melbourne would play in the VFA, as the following season they would be one of eight founding clubs forming the breakaway Victorian Football League. The other clubs were St Kilda Football Club, Essendon Football Club, Fitzroy Football Club, Melbourne Football Club, Geelong Football Club, Carlton Football Club and Collingwood Football Club.

VFL entry: 1897–1909

South Melbourne was one of the original founding clubs of the Victorian Football League that was formed in 1897.

Premiership success: 1909–1945

The club had early success and won three VFL premierships in 1909, 1918 and 1933. The club was at its most successful in the 1930s, when key recruits from both Victoria and interstate led to a string of appearances in the finals, including four successive grand final appearances from 1933 to 1936, albeit with only one premiership in 1933. The collection of players recruited from interstate in 1932/1933 became known as South Melbourne's "Foreign Legion".[17]

On grand final eve, 1935, as the Swans prepared to take on Collingwood, star full-forward Bob Pratt was clipped by a truck moments after stepping off a tram and subsequently missed the match for South. Ironically, the truck driver was a South Melbourne supporter.[18]

It was during this period that the team became known as the Swans. The nickname, which was suggested by a Herald and Weekly Times artist in 1933, was inspired by the number of Western Australians in the team (the black swan being the state emblem of Western Australia), and was formally adopted by the club before the following season 1934.[19] The name stuck, in part due to the club's association with nearby Albert Park and Lake, also known for its swans (although there are no longer any non-native white swans and only black, indigenous swans in the lake).

After several years with only limited success, South Melbourne next reached the grand final in 1945. The match, played against Carlton, was to become known as "the Bloodbath", courtesy of the brawl that overshadowed the match, with a total of 9 players being reported by the umpires. Carlton won the match by 28 points, and from then on, South Melbourne struggled.

Struggling times: 1946–1981

In the following years, South Melbourne consistently struggled, as their traditional inner-city recruiting district largely emptied as a result of demographic shifts. The club missed the finals in 1946 and continued to fall such that by 1950 they were second-last on the ladder. They nearly made the finals in 1952, but from 1953 to 1969, they never finished higher than eighth on the ladder. By the 1960s it was clear that South Melbourne's financial resources would not be capable of allowing them to compete in the growing market for country and interstate players, and their own local zone was never strong enough to compensate for this. The introduction of country zoning failed to help, as the Riverina Football League proved to be one of the least profitable zones.

Between 1945 and 1981, South Melbourne made the finals only twice: under legendary coach Norm Smith, South Melbourne finished fourth in 1970, but lost the first semi-final; and, in 1977, the club finished fifth under coach Ian Stewart, but lost the elimination final. In that time, they "won" three wooden spoons. Between Round 7, 1972 and Round 13, 1973, the team lost 29 consecutive games. By the end of the 1970s South Melbourne were saddled with massive debts after struggling for such a long period of time.

Sydney history

Early years in Sydney: 1982–1987

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the VFL was strategically interested in seeing a club based in Sydney, as part of a long-term plan to broaden the appeal of the game in Queensland and New South Wales. The league had started moving a few premiership matches to the Sydney Cricket Ground annually since 1979, and in 1981 was preparing to establish an entirely new, 13th VFL club in Sydney after the Fitzroy Lions staved off a proposed relocation to become the Sydney Lions in late 1980. These plans halted when the South Melbourne board, recognising the difficulties it faced with viability and financial stability in Melbourne, made the decision to play all 1982 home games in Sydney. The club had been operating at a loss of at least $150,000 for the previous five years. News of the proposal broke on 2 July 1981, after which a letter was sent to members outlining the board's reasons for making the proposal and noting that the coach and current players were in favour of the move.[20] On 29 July 1981, the VFL formally accepted the proposal, and paved the way for the Swans to shift to Sydney in 1982.

The move caused great internal difficulties, as a group of supporters known as Keep South at South campaigned throughout the rest of 1981 to stop the move; and, at an extraordinary general meeting on 22 September, the group democratically took control of the club's board. However, the new board did not have the power to unilaterally stop the move to Sydney: under the VFL constitution, to rescind the decision that had been made on 29 July required a three-quarters majority in a vote of all twelve clubs, and at a meeting on 14 October it failed to obtain this majority.[21] The new board also lacked the support of the players, the vast majority of whom were in favour of a long-term move to Sydney; in early November, after the board promised that it would try to bring the club back to Melbourne in 1983, the players went on strike, seeking to force the new board commit to Sydney in the long term as well as seeking payments that the cash-strapped club owed them from the previous season.[22] The board ended up undermining its own position when it accepted a $400,000 loan from the VFL in late November to stay solvent, under the condition that it commit to Sydney for two years. Finally, in early December, the Keep South at South board resigned and a board in favour of the move to Sydney was installed.[23]

1982 Escort Championships FinalGBTotal
North Melbourne81058
Venue: Waverley Park Crowd: 20,028

Upon moving, the club played at the Sydney Cricket Ground. In 1982, the club was technically a Melbourne-based club which played all of its home games in Sydney; it dropped the name "South Melbourne" in June 1982, becoming known as simply "the Swans" for the rest of that season.[24] It was not until 1983 that the club formally moved its operations to Sydney and became the Sydney Swans.[23] Its physical "home club" was the "Southern Cross Social Club" at 120a Clovelly Road, Randwick, New South Wales which became bankrupt in 1987; new Sydney Swans Offices were then set up in the Sydney Football Stadium.

On 31 July 1985, for what was thought to be $6.3 million, Geoffrey Edelsten "bought" the Swans; in reality it was $2.9 million in cash with funding and other payments spread over five years. Edelsten resigned as chairman in less than twelve months, but had already made his mark. He immediately recruited former Geelong coach Tom Hafey. Hafey, in turn, used his knowledge of Geelong's contracts to recruit David Bolton, Bernard Toohey and Greg Williams, who would all form a key part of the Sydney side, at a league-determined total fee of $240,000 (less than the $500,000 Geelong demanded and even the $300,000 Sydney offered).[25] The likes of Gerard Healy, Merv Neagle and Paul Morwood were also poached from other clubs, and failed approaches were made to Simon Madden, Terry Daniher, Andrew Bews and Maurice Rioli.[26]

During the Edelsten years, the Swans were seen by the Sydney public as a flamboyant club, typified by the style of its spearhead, Warwick Capper, his long bright blond mullet and bright pink boots made him unmissable on the field and his pink Lamborghini, penchant for fashion models and eccentricity made him notorious off the field – all somewhat fashionable in the 1980s. During Capper's peak years, the Swans had made successive finals appearances for the first time since relocating. His consistently spectacular aerial exploits earned him consecutive Mark of the Year awards while his goalkicking efforts (amassing 103 goals in 1987) made him runner up in the Coleman Medal two years running. The Swans’ successive finals appearances saw crowds during this time peak at an average of around 25,000 per game. Edelsten also introduced the "Swanettes", becoming the sole such cheerleading group among VFL teams following the disbandment of Carlton's Blue Birds in 1986. The Swanettes did not get much performance time, owing to the short intervals between quarters of play in the VFL and the lack of space in which they might perform while other activities take place on the field. The Swanettes were soon discontinued and no club has had cheerleaders since then.

In 1987, the Swans scored 201 points against the West Coast Eagles and the following week scored 236 points against the Essendon Football Club. Both games were at the SCG. The Swans remain one of only two clubs to have scored consecutive team tallies above 200 points, the only other being Geelong in 1992.[27] However, this was followed by several heavy losses, including defeat by Hawthorn by 99 points in the Qualifying Final and by 76 points against Melbourne in the First Semi-final.

Dark times: 1988–1994

The club's form was to slump in the following year.

Losses were in the millions. A group of financial backers including Mike Willesee, Basil Sellers, Peter Weinert and Craig Kimberley purchased the licence and bankrolled the club until 1993, when the AFL stepped in.

Morale at the side plummeted as players were asked to take pay cuts.[28] Legendary coach Tom Hafey was sacked by the club in 1988 after a player-led rebellion at his tough training methods (unusual in the semi-professional days of that era).

Capper was sold to the Brisbane Bears for $400,000 in a desperate attempt to improve the club's finances. Instead, it only led to disastrous on-field performances. Instead of a 100-goal-a-season forward, Sydney's goalkicking was led by Bernard Toohey (usually a defender) with 29 in 1989, then Jim West with 34 in 1990. Players left the club in droves, including Brownlow Medalist Greg Williams, Bernard Toohey and Barry Mitchell. The careers of stars such as Dennis Carroll, David Bolton, Ian Roberts, Tony Morwood and David Murphy wound down,[29] while promising young players like Jamie Lawson, Robert Teal and Paul Bryce had their careers cut short by injury.

Attendances consistently dropped below 10,000 when the team performed poorly between 1990 and 1994. The nadir came with three consecutive wooden spoons in 1992, 1993 and 1994.

The AFL stepped in to save the Swans, offering substantial monetary and management support. The club survived, despite strong rumours in 1992 that it would merge with the Brisbane Bears to form a combined New South Wales/Queensland team, fold altogether, or even move back to South Melbourne. With draft and salary cap concessions in the early 1990s and a series of notable recruits, the team became competitive after the early part of the decade.

During this time, the side was largely held together by two inspirational skippers, both from the Wagga Wagga region of country New South Wales, Dennis Carroll and later the courageous captain Paul Kelly.

Desperate to hang on, the club was keen to enlist the biggest names and identities in the AFL, and recruited legendary coach Ron Barassi who helped save the club from extinction while serving them as coach from Round 7, 1993 to 1995. At roughly the same time, Hawthorn legend Dermott Brereton was also recruited, albeit with little on-field impact. On a much brighter side for the Swans, their captain Paul Kelly won the League's highest individual honour, the Brownlow Medal, in 1995.

Tony Lockett and grand final return: 1995–2001

A big coup for the club was recruitment of St Kilda Football Club champion Tony "Plugger" Lockett in 1995. Lockett became a cult figure in Sydney, with an instant impact and along with the Super League war in the dominant rival rugby league football code in Australia, helped the Swans to become a powerhouse Sydney icon.

1995 would be Barassi's last year in charge. The Swans won eight games – as many as they did in the previous three seasons combined – and finished with a percentage of over 100 (in fact, they have managed such consistently ever since). They were also one of only two teams to defeat the all-conquering Carlton side of that year. Swans great Paul Kelly also won the Brownlow Medal that year. Barassi left an improving team, a club in a much better state than he found them.

1996 AFL Home & Away SeasonWLDTotal%
Sydney Swans165166123.9
Minor Premiers

Former Hawthorn player Rodney Eade took over the reins in 1996 and after a slow start (they lost their first two games of the season), turned the club around into powerful force. The Swans ended the minor round on top of the premiership table with 16 wins, 5 losses, and 1 draw. In the finals, the Swans won one of the most thrilling AFL preliminary finals in history after Plugger Lockett kicked a behind after the siren to win the game. The Swans lost the grand final to North Melbourne, which had been their first appearance in a grand final since 1945. The game was played in front of 93,102 at the MCG.

The Swans then made the finals for four of the next five full years that Rodney Eade was in charge. In 1998 they finished 3rd on the AFL ladder; despite beating St Kilda in their first final the Swans were then beaten by eventual premiers Adelaide in the semi-final at the SCG.

The 1999 season was a largely uneventful year for the club, the only real highlight being Tony Lockett kicking his record-breaking 1300th goal against Collingwood in Round 10. The 1999 season ended with a 69-point mauling at the hands of minor premiers Essendon.

After missing the finals in 2000, the Swans rebounded to finish 7th in 2001, but were beaten by Hawthorn by 55 points in their elimination final at Colonial Stadium.

Rebuilding and finals return: 2002–2004

Former Swans favourite son Paul Roos was appointed caretaker coach midway through the 2002 season, replacing Rodney Eade who was removed after Round 12. Roos won six of the remaining 10 games that year (including the last four of the season) and was installed as the permanent coach from the 2003 season onwards, despite rumors that Sydney had nearly concluded a deal with Terry Wallace.

Roos continued a record as a successful coach with the Swans for the eight full seasons that would follow.

A new home ground in ANZ Stadium (then known as Telstra Stadium) provided increased capacity over the SCG. The Swans' first game played at the Stadium in Round 9, 2002 against Essendon attracted 54,169 spectators. The Sydney Swans v Collingwood match on 23 August 2003 set an attendance record for the largest crowd to watch an AFL game outside of Victoria with an official attendance of 72,393 and was the largest home and away AFL crowd at any stadium for 2003. A preliminary final against the Brisbane Lions in 2003 attracted 71,019 people. The Swans lost all three of those significant matches.

2004 saw an average year for Sydney, however one highlight was when they ended St Kilda's undefeated start to the season in Round 11. The match was notable for Leo Barry's effort in nullifying the impact of St Kilda full-forward and eventual Coleman Medallist Fraser Gehrig, whom Barry restricted to only two possessions for the entire match.

Sydney was able to recruit another St Kilda export in the Lockett mould, Barry Hall. There were obvious parallels to the signing of Lockett (a powerful, tough forward from St Kilda with questions over his discipline and attitude), which left Hall with much to live up to. He flourished in his new surroundings and eventually became a cult figure and club leader in his own right.

As the new century dawned, Sydney implemented a policy of giving up high order draft picks in exchange for players who struggled at other clubs. It was during this era that the Swans picked up the likes of Paul Williams, Barry Hall, Craig Bolton, Darren Jolly, Ted Richards, Peter Everitt, Martin Mattner, Rhyce Shaw, Shane Mumford, Ben McGlynn and Mitch Morton, amongst others, and giving up higher order draft picks meant the Swans missed out on the likes of Daniel Motlop, Nick Dal Santo, James Kelly, Courtenay Dempsey and Sam Lonergan who went to Port Adelaide, St Kilda, Geelong and the latter two to Essendon respectively. This policy is said to have paid off in the Roos era, as they implemented a strict culture of discipline at the club.

Premiership glory: 2005

In 2005, the Swans came under enormous public scrutiny, even from AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou, for their unorthodox, "boring" defense-oriented tactics that included tightly controlling the tempo of the game and starving the opposition of possession (in fact, seven teams that season had their lowest possession total whilst playing against the Swans). Swans coach Paul Roos maintained that playing contested football was the style used by all recent Premiership-winning teams, and felt that it was ironic that the much criticised strategy proved ultimately successful.

Nick Davis! Nick Davis! I don't believe it! I see it, but I don't believe it!

Anthony Hudson's TV call of Nick Davis' fourth and match-winning goal in the semi-final against Geelong on Network Ten[30]

Cox throws it onto the left, one last roll of the dice for the Eagles – Leo Barry, you star!...(Siren in background)...The longest Premiership drought in football history is over! For the first time in 72 years, the Swans are the champions of the AFL!"

Stephen Quartermain's TV call of Leo Barry's match- and title-clinching mark on Network Ten[31]

After finishing third during the regular season, the Swans lost the second qualifying final against the West Coast Eagles at Subiaco Oval on 2 September by 10.5 (65) to 10.9 (69). This dropped them into a semi-final against the Geelong Cats at the SCG on 9 September, and the Swans trailed the Cats 31–53 before Nick Davis kicked four consecutive goals, with the last one a matter of seconds before the siren, to win the game for Sydney by 7.14 (56) to 7.11 (53). In the first preliminary final at the MCG on 16 September against St Kilda, the Swans used a seven-goal blitz in 11 minutes of the fourth quarter to overturn an 8-point deficit and overrun the Saints by 15.6 (96) to 9.11 (65).

The Swans faced the Eagles in a rematch in the AFL Grand Final on 24 September 2005, and this time, they prevailed by four points, final score 8.10 (58) to West Coast's 7.12 (54). In the last few minutes, the Sydney defence held strong, with Leo Barry marking the ball just before the siren to stop the Eagles' final desperate shot at goal. The Premiership was the Swans' first in 72 years and their first since being based in Sydney. It was also the fifth Premiership in succession to be won by a team from outside Victoria.

2005 AFL Grand FinalGBTotal
Sydney Swans81058
West Coast Eagles71254
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 91,898

On Friday, 30 September 2005, a ticker tape parade down Sydney's George Street was held in honour of the Swans' achievements, which ended with a rally at Town Hall, where Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore presented the team with the key to the city. The flag of the Swans also flew on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the week; the same flag was later given to WA premier Geoff Gallop to fly on top of the state legislature in Perth as part of the friendly wager between Gallop and NSW premier Morris Iemma.

Grand final loss: 2006

As reigning premiers, the Sydney Swans started the 2006 season slowly, losing three of their first four games, including in round one to an Essendon side that would finish near the bottom of the ladder with only three wins and a draw, and finish with the worst defensive record of any side for the season (Sydney, conversely, had the best defensive record of any side).[32]

The 2006 AFL Grand Final was contested between the Sydney Swans and West Coast Eagles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 30 September 2006. The West Coast Eagles avenged their 2005 Grand Final defeat by beating the Sydney Swans by one point, only the fourth one-point grand final margin in the competition's history.

The rivalry between the Sydney Swans and West Coast Eagles has become one of the great modern rivalries.[33] The six games between the two sides (from the start of the 2005 finals to the first round of 2007 inclusive) were decided by a combined margin of 13 points. Four of those six games were finals, and 2 grand finals.

Finals goal: 2007–2010

Sydney finished the 2007 home and away season in 7th place, and advanced to the finals, where they faced and were defeated by Collingwood by 38 points in the elimination final. It was their earliest exit from the finals since 2001 and was a culmination of a mostly disappointing season, as only victories against lesser teams saw them through to a fifth consecutive finals campaign.

The conclusion of the 2007 trade saw the loss of Adam Schneider and Sean Dempster to St Kilda, the delisting of Simon Phillips, Jonathan Simpkin and Luke Vogels, and the gain of Henry Playfair from Geelong and Martin Mattner from Adelaide.

The Swans spent the middle part of the 2008 season inside the top four, however a late form slump which yielded only three wins in the last nine rounds saw the Swans drop to sixth at the conclusion of the 2008 regular season. Having qualified for the finals for a sixth consecutive season, the Swans defeated North Melbourne in the elimination final before losing to the Western Bulldogs the following week.

2009 saw the club register only eight victories as they failed to reach the finals for the first time since 2002, finishing 12th with a percentage of below 100% for the first time since 1994. Barry Hall, Leo Barry, Jared Crouch, Michael O'Loughlin, Amon Buchanan and Darren Jolly all departed at the conclusion of the season, with Mark Seaby, Daniel Bradshaw and Shane Mumford, among others, joining the club during the trade period.

The 2010 season saw Sydney return to the finals by virtue of a fifth-place finish at the end of the regular season. The club defeated Carlton by five points in the elimination final before losing to the Western Bulldogs in the semi-finals for the second time in three seasons. The loss signalled the end of the Swans coaching career of Paul Roos as well as that of the playing career of Brett Kirk.

John Longmire era: 2011–present

2012 AFL Grand FinalGBTotal
Sydney Swans14791
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 99,683
2014 AFL Grand FinalGBTotal
Sydney Swans11874
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 99,460
2016 AFL Grand FinalGBTotal
Sydney Swans10767
Western Bulldogs131189
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 99,981

Former North Melbourne premiership-winning forward John Longmire took over as coach of the Swans as part of a succession plan initiated by Paul Roos in 2009 prior to the beginning of the 2011 season. He led the club to a seventh-place finish at the end of the regular season, therefore qualifying for the finals for the 13th time in the past 16 seasons. The Swans defeated St Kilda in an elimination final at Docklands Stadium before losing to Hawthorn in the semi-finals the following week.

It was during the regular season that the Swans caused the upset of the season, defeating the star-studded Geelong Cats on its home ground, Skilled Stadium, where the home tenant had won its past 29 games in succession, and its past two matches at the ground by a combined margin of 336 points, in Round 23. It was the Swans' first win over the Cats since 2006 and its first win at the ground since Round 8, 1999. The Swans were also the only team to defeat the West Coast Eagles at Patersons Stadium during the regular season. The Swans' victory over Geelong was overshadowed by the news that co-captain Jarrad McVeigh's baby daughter had died in the week leading up to the match, forcing him to miss that match.

The 2012 season began for the Swans with the inaugural Sydney Derby against AFL newcomers Greater Western Sydney. After an even and physical first half, Sydney went on to win by 63 points. Subsequent wins over Fremantle, Port Adelaide, North Melbourne and Hawthorn saw the Swans sit second behind West Coast on percentage after Round 5, but the Swans would proceed to lose three of their next four matches before embarking on a nine-match winning streak between Rounds 10 and 19 inclusive. The Swans eventually finished the regular season in third place after losing three of their final four matches, all against their fellow top-four rivals (Collingwood, Hawthorn and Geelong in Rounds 20, 22 and 23 respectively).

The Swans defeated Adelaide by 29 points in their qualifying final at AAMI Stadium, thus earning a week off and a home preliminary final, where they then defeated Collingwood by 26 points to qualify for their first grand final since 2006, ending an eleven-match losing streak against the Magpies in the process.

In the grand final, the Swans defeated Hawthorn by ten points in front of 99,683 people at the MCG, with Nick Malceski kicking a snap goal with 34 seconds left to seal the Swans' fifth premiership and first since 2005. Ryan O'Keefe was named the Norm Smith Medallist and the Swan's best player in September

The Swans' 2013 season was marred by long-term injuries to many of its key players, namely Adam Goodes, Sam Reid, Lewis Jetta, Rhyce Shaw and Lewis Roberts-Thomson, among others; despite this setback, the team were still able to reach the finals for the fifteenth time in 18 seasons, reaching the preliminary finals where they were defeated by Fremantle at Patersons Stadium, its first loss at the venue since 2009.[34][35]

The 2014 AFL season began with some difficulties for the Swans. Sydney lost their first game against Greater Western Sydney and then to Collingwood before becoming the first non-South Australian team to win at Adelaide Oval defeating Adelaide by 63 points with Lance Franklin and Luke Parker kicking 4 goals each. After a loss to North Melbourne in Round 4, the Swans' won twelve games in a row, including victories against 2013 grand finalists Fremantle and Hawthorn, Geelong by 110 points at the SCG and then ladder leaders Port Adelaide. In Round 17, the Swans defeated Carlton to match a winning streak set three times in club history, the last of which came way back in 1935,[36] and eventually closed out the season with their first minor premiership in 18 years and a club record 17 wins for the season, eclipsing the previous highest of 16, which was achieved on six past occasions in 2012, 1996, 1986, 1945, 1936 and 1935. In 2014 the Swans were minor premiers, and also qualified for the 2014 AFL Grand Final. They defeated Fremantle at home in the first qualifying final in Round one of the finals series and so earned a one-week break. In the first preliminary final the Swans had a convincing win against North Melbourne, which led them to their fourth grand final in 10 years. The 2014 AFL Grand Final was played on Saturday 27 September 2014 in near perfect weather conditions, with Sydney seen as favourites leading up to the match. This was the first time in a finals series that former Hawk player Lance Franklin would play against his former team, one of very few players to have played back to back grand finals for two different teams. The Hawks dominated the game quite early and eventually defeated the Swans 11.8.(74) to 21.11.(137). The 63-point loss was Sydney's biggest ever loss in a grand final and their biggest defeat all season, meaning Hawthorn would become back to back premiers for the second time in their history.

The Swans started the 2015 AFL season well, winning their first three, before losing their next 2 games against Fremantle, where they trailed by as many as 8 goals before half-time, and the Western Bulldogs. They won their next 6 leading into the bye, including home wins against Geelong and North Melbourne, and an upset away win against Hawthorn in the grand final replay. The Swans lost their first game after the bye, their 3rd of the season to Richmond at the SCG, 11.11 (77) to 14.11. (95). The Swans rebounded with unconvincing wins against Port Adelaide and Brisbane Lions, before suffering their heaviest defeat for 17 seasons against the Hawks by 89 points.[37] The following week was no better with a road trip to Perth and another loss, this time to the Eagles by 52 points, the scoreline ultimately flattering the Swans. The Swans bounced back against Adelaide with a convincing win 52-point win, but lost their next game to Geelong at Simmonds stadium; a close affair that Geelong blew apart in the 3rd quarter. The Swans won their final 4 games to secure a top 4 finish, against Collingwood, Greater Western Sydney, St Kilda and Gold Coast.

The Swans faced minor premiers Fremantle in the first qualifying final, their first finals match without Franklin, who had withdrawn from the finals due to illness.[38] Ultimately the Swans would go down in a low scoring affair, effectively kicking themselves out of the game after losing Sam Reid to a hamstring injury midway through the 2nd quarter.[39] The following week the Swans were knocked out of the finals in a one-sided contest against North Melbourne, struggling to score throughout the first half with the game effectively over by half-time. For the first time since 2011, the Swans failed to make a preliminary final.

The Swans' continued period of success, in which it has missed the finals only three times since 1995, has led to some criticism about a salary cap concession which the club receives; the concession is in the form of an additional Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), due to the higher cost of living in Sydney compared with any other Australian city.[40][41] It was, however, announced in March 2014 that this allowance would be scrapped.[42] The trade ban was fought by the club before the 2015 season and a reprieve was won, with the AFL allowing the club to participate in the 2015 AFL draft. There was a catch however, with the league imposing an edict that the club could only recruit players at or below current average wage of $340,000 (adjusted figures for 2015 was $349,000).[43] During the 2015 season, with the Swans team stretched by aging players and injuries, it had become apparent that the trade restrictions that had prevented the Swans from participating in the 2014 draft, had impacted the list. With the trade period looming, Andrew Pridham lobbied the AFL to lift the trade restrictions, labeling the ban as a restraint of trade.[44] In response to continued discussions between the club and league, as well as lobbying by the AFLPA,[45] the league further relaxed the trade restrictions for the Swans during the 2015 AFL Finals. The AFL changed the sanctions so that the Swans could replace a player that leaves the club as either a free agent, or through trade, with another player on a contract up to $450,000 per year. This allowed the Swans to trade for Callum Sinclair in a swap deal,[46] as well as trade a late pick for out-of-contract defender, Michael Talia from the Western Bulldogs.[47]

The Swans started off the 2016 season with a convincing 80-point round 1 win against Collingwood, with new Swans recruit Michael Talia suffering a long term foot injury. They followed up the next round with a 60-point win against the Blues, with new recruit Callum Sinclair kicking 3 goals. The following week they defeated GWS by 25 points, with Lance Franklin kicking 4 goals. In the following match against the Crows, Isaac Heeney starred with 18 touches and 4 goals in a losing side. Three more wins followed, against West Coast, Brisbane and Essendon respectively before a shock loss to Richmond in round 8 by a solitary point, after a kick after the siren. They bounced back to win against top spot North Melbourne, and the Hawks at the MCG, with Lance Franklin booting 3 goals, including a bomb from 80 metres. After a tight slog against the Suns, the Swans played the Giants once more and were defeated in the club's 100th game. They won their next game by 55 points against the Demons, in a fourth quarter breeze. After a bye in Round 14, the Sydney Swans lost their first game after, again with the last kick of the game, by 4 points. The week after was soured by a family feud involving co-captain Kieren Jack and his parents, after they were reportedly told by him not to come to is 200-game milestone. After the spat, Jack led the Swans to an emphatic upset victory against Geelong, booting 3 goals and gathering 24 possessions in the one-sided 38-point victory at Simonds Stadium. They then travelled back home where they faced Hawthorn and lost their 3rd match of the season by under a goal, as Buddy went goalless for the first time in the season. After an unconvincing win the following week against Carlton, the Swans went on to win their last 5 home and away games by a combined total of 349 points, giving them top spot and a home qualifying final.

Ahead of their first final against cross-town rivals the Giants, the Swans confirmed that they would play all home finals at the SCG except for Sydney Derbies, which would be played at ANZ Stadium. The final would create history, being the first Sydney Derby to be played in a final. It was also the first time that the Giants would make the finals in their fifth year. In a low-scoring first half, the Swans were very competitive, trailing by only 2 points. However, a mark not paid to Isaac Heeney midway through the third quarter turned all the momentum the Giants way, as they kicked away to win by 36 points. The Swans only kicked 2 goals after half-time with Giant Jeremy Cameron outscoring them in the third quarter alone with 3 goals. They were quick to bounce back the following week, thumping the Adelaide Crows by 6 goals, with Franklin and Tom Papley kicking 4 goals a piece, after a blistering 7 goal to 1 quarter. The story was pretty much the same in the preliminary final against the Geelong Cats at the MCG. The Swans kept the Cats goalless for the first quarter, and were never really challenged in their 37-point triumph. It would take them to their third grand final in 5 years, against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG. After leading by a scant 2-point margin at half time, the Bulldogs pulled away towards the end of the fourth quarter to hand Sydney their second grand final loss in three years.

The Swans began the 2017 season with six straight losses, after being upset at home by Port Adelaide in the opening round, they were upset by Collingwood and Carlton, and suffered defeats to the Western Bulldogs, Greater Western Sydney (who won their first game at the SCG) and West Coast Eagles (in Perth). However, they managed to win 13 of their last 15, losing both their games to Hawthorn by 1 goal. Some of their best wins include against the reigning premiers the Bulldogs, GWS, and comeback wins against Richmond and Essendon. After becoming the first grand-finalist to lose their first six games, they have become the first team to reach the finals after starting the season 0–6. They would comprehensively defeat Essendon in their first final, before slumping to an ugly defeat against Geelong, ending their season.

The Swans had an indifferent 2018, compounded by their struggles at home, losing 5 out of 11 games at the SCG. A lean patch of form which included upset losses to Gold Coast (for the first time ever) and Essendon (for the first time since 2011) had them looking likely to miss finals altogether. However three out of four wins in the last four rounds was enough to see them into their ninth consecutive finals series, where they were comprehensively beaten by GWS in the Elimination Final.

The Swans' golden era of finals appearances came to an end in 2019. They missed the finals for the first time in a decade, finishing 15th on the ladder with eight wins and 14 losses. They started the season poorly with just one win in their first seven matches, although they would briefly recover after winning five of the next seven games. Six losses on the trot ended any chance of a tenth consecutive finals appearance, but strong wins over also-rans Melbourne and St Kilda in the final two rounds ensured the season ended on a positive note.

Club identity


The jumper is white with a red back and a red yoke with a silhouette of the Sydney Opera House at the point of the yoke. The Opera House design was first used at the start of the 1987 season, replacing the traditional red "V" on white design. Until 1991, the back of the jumper was white with the yoke only extending to the back of the shoulders and each side of the jumper had a red vertical stripe. The current predominantly red design appeared at the start of the 1992 season. The club's major sponsor is QBE Insurance. In 2004 the club added the initials 'SMFC' in white lettering at the back of the collar to honour the club's past as South Melbourne Football Club. The move was welcomed by Melbourne-based fans. The clash guernsey is a predominantly white version of the home guernsey similar to the original Opera House guernsey design, including a white back, but it is rarely used, since the two Queensland clubs (the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns) and cross town rivals GWS Giants are the only clubs with which there is a clash.[48]

ISC have manufactured the Swans' apparel since 2010, replacing long-time sponsor Puma.[49]

Uniform evolution

Since the club was called "South Melbourne", the team has worn different designs with the traditional red and white colors, as follows:[50]

1907-11 & 13-31


The club song is known as Cheer, Cheer The Red and The White' and is to the tune of the Victory March, the fight song of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend, Indiana, USA, which was written by University of Notre Dame graduates and brothers Rev. Michael J. Shea and John F. Shea. In 1961, the school and other musical houses granted South Melbourne a copyright to adapt the Victory March into the new club song, which replaced an adaptation of Springtime in the Rockies by Gene Autry.[51] Port Adelaide also has used the Victory March as the basis for their club song since 1971, though their senior team changed their club song to their current original Power To Win after their entry into the AFL.

George Gershwin's Swanee (1919) was used by the club in marketing promotions during the late 1990s.


The Sydney Swans' mascot for the AFL's Mascot Manor is Syd 'Swannie' Skilton.

He is named after Swans legend Bob Skilton. The actual mascot at Sydney's home games is, however, still known as Cyggy (as in cygnet).

Home ground

Since the 2016 AFL season, the Swans have played all their home games at the Sydney Cricket Ground, a 48,000 capacity venue located in inner-east Sydney. The venue has been home to Swans home games since the club's relocation to Sydney in 1982.[52] In the years 2002–2015, the Swans played between three and four home matches per season and most home finals matches at Stadium Australia (commercially known as ANZ Stadium), an 80,000 capacity stadium located in the west of the city. During the first five years at the ground average crowds were high, but issues with the surface as well as fan and player disengagement resulted in the club ending its association with the venue.[53]

The club also trains on the SCG during the season and has its indoor training facilities and offices located within the stadium. During the off-season, when the ground is configured for cricket, the Swans train on the nearby Lakeside Oval at Moore Park.[54] The club will shift all offices and indoor training facilities to Moore Park's Royal Hall of Industries sometime in the early-to-mid 2020's, after announcing a $55 million deal with the New South Wales Government to redevelop the Hall in October 2018.[55]

Supporter base

The Sydney Swans have built a strong following in the city they've called home since moving from South Melbourne. Attendances and memberships grew dramatically during the Lockett era, helped out by the Super League War plaguing Rugby League. The Swans continue to have a strong supporter base in Victoria with attendances for Swans games in Melbourne being much higher than other non-Victorian teams.

Legend:      Premiers      Grand Finalist      Finals      Wooden spoon

YearMembersFinishing position²Average Home crowd

¹following finals matches


Greater Western Sydney

The introduction of the GWS Giants to the AFL in 2012 resulted in the formation of the Sydney Derby. The Swans compete against their cross-city rivals twice every season. The best performed player from every derby match is awarded the Brett Kirk Medal.

The Swans have also played the Giants twice in finals matches, losing each time.[56][57][58]

West Coast Eagles

The Swans developed a famous modern rivalry against the Perth-based West Coast Eagles between 2005 and 2007, when six consecutive games between the two teams, including two qualifying finals and two grand finals, were decided by less than a goal. The rivalry was highlighted by Sydney's four-point win against West Coast in the 2005 Grand Final, and West Coast's one-point win against Sydney in the 2006 Grand Final.


The Sydney and Hawthorn rivalry has been more recent, they have played in two grand finals (2012 and 2014). The Swans beat Hawthorn in 2012 by 10 points to claim their fifth premiership. The rivalry grew in 2013, when Hawthorn forward Lance Franklin transferred to the Swans as a free agent on a nine-year, $10 million deal. In 2014, the Swans finished minor premiers and were favourites to win the grand final, however Hawthorn beat Sydney by 63 points. Both teams have had close games since their grand final matches, in 2017 the Hawks beat Sydney twice (both by six points).

VFL and AFL premierships


  • 1909 (as South Melbourne) – defeated Carlton 4.14 (38) to 4.12 (36)
  • 1918 (as South Melbourne) – defeated Collingwood 9.8 (62) to 7.15 (57)
  • 1933 (as South Melbourne) – defeated Richmond 9.17 (71) to 4.5 (29)
  • 2005 (as Sydney Swans) – defeated West Coast 8.10 (58) to 7.12 (54)
  • 2012 (as Sydney Swans) – defeated Hawthorn 14.7 (91) to 11.15 (81)

Defeated in grand finals

  • 1899 (as South Melbourne) – defeated by Fitzroy 3.9 (27) to 3.8 (26)
  • 1907 (as South Melbourne) – defeated by Carlton 6.14 (50) to 6.9 (45)
  • 1912 (as South Melbourne) – defeated by Essendon 5.17 (47) to 4.9 (33)
  • 1914 (as South Melbourne) – defeated by Carlton 6.9 (45) to 4.15 (39)
  • 1934 (as South Melbourne) – defeated by Richmond 19.14 (128) to 12.17 (89)
  • 1935 (as South Melbourne) – defeated by Collingwood 11.12 (78) to 7.16 (58)
  • 1936 (as South Melbourne) – defeated by Collingwood 11.23 (89) to 10.18 (78)
  • 1945 (as South Melbourne) – defeated by Carlton 15.13 (103) to 10.15 (75)
  • 1996 (as Sydney Swans) – defeated by North Melbourne 19.17 (131) to 13.10 (88); first grand final appearance after relocation
  • 2006 (as Sydney Swans) – defeated by West Coast 12.13 (85) to 12.12 (84)
  • 2014 (as Sydney Swans) – defeated by Hawthorn 21.11 (137) to 11.8 (74)
  • 2016 (as Sydney Swans) – defeated by Western Bulldogs 13.11 (89) to 10.7 (67)

Players and staff

Current squad

Sydney Swans
Senior list Rookie list Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)
  • (B) Category B rookie
  • italics - Inactive player list
  • Long-term injury
  • (ret.) Retired

Updated: 11 December 2019
Source(s): Playing list, Coaching staff


  • Chairman: Andrew Pridham
  • Directors:
    • Andrew McMaster (Deputy chairman)
    • Rob Morgan
    • Alexandra Goodfellow
    • Greg Paramor
    • Robert Pascoe
    • Brian Tyson
    • Brad Seymour
    • Tim Worner
  • Chief executive: Tom Harley
  • general manager – Football: Charlie Gardiner
  • Player Welfare & Development: Dennis Carroll

Reserves team

The Swans currently field a reserves team in the North East Australian Football League. Previously a reserves team was first created for South Melbourne in 1919 and continued to compete in the Victorian reserves competition until 1999 despite the team relocating to Sydney in 1982. The team enjoyed little success in the Victorian competition; it was the only reserves team never to win a premiership, and its best performances were losing grand finals in 1927, 1956 and 1980. In 2000 the Swans entered a reserves team in the Sydney AFL competition but withdrew prior to the finals series because the club felt the difference in standard was too greatly in favour of the Swans. Between 2001 and 2002 the Swans affiliated themselves with the Port Melbourne Football Club in the VFL while also starting a new stand-alone team named the Redbacks in the Sydney AFL competition. Little success resulted and the Swans entered a stand-alone reserves team in the AFL Canberra competition in 2003 which resulted in four consecutive premierships between 2005 and 2008. In 2011 the Swans reserves team joined the North East Australian Football League with the rest of the AFL Canberra competition and now have regular matches against AFL reserve teams from the Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast Suns and GWS Giants. The team plays home games at the Sydney Cricket Ground and will often play as a curtain raiser to senior AFL games.

In 2011 the Swans reserves finished the home and away season with the Eastern Conference minor premiership. In the Eastern Conference grand final Ainslie caused a major upset when they defeated the Swans by 52 points. The team suffered the same fate in 2012 when Queanbeyan defeated them by 30 points in the Eastern Conference grand final. The Swans reserves would then go on to play in an astonishing five losing NEAFL grand finals; 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Premierships (4)
Year Competition Opponent Score Venue
2005AFL CanberraBelconnen12.8 (80) – 8.15 (63)Manuka Oval
2006AFL CanberraBelconnen10.16 (76) – 6.7 (43)Manuka Oval
2007AFL CanberraQueanbeyan18.14 (122) – 14.10 (94)Manuka Oval
2008AFL CanberraBelconnen11.4 (70) – 9.15 (69)Manuka Oval
Runners-up (9)
Year Competition Opponent Score Venue
1927[a]VFL ReservesCarlton11.9 (75) – 12.22 (94)MCG
1956[a]VFL ReservesMelbourne10.12 (72) – 16.14 (110)MCG
1980[a]VFL ReservesGeelong19.12 (126) – 24.15 (159)MCG
1995 AFL Reserves North Melbourne 13.16 (94) - 11.14 (80) MCG
2013NEAFLBrisbane Lions10.13 (73) – 12.9 (81)Graham Rd Oval
2014NEAFLAspley Hornets15.10 (100) – 15.12 (102)Graham Rd Oval
2016NEAFLWSU Giants11.12 (78) – 11.16 (82)Blacktown International Sportspark
2017NEAFLBrisbane Lions10.22 (82) – 12.13 (85)Sydney Cricket Ground
2018NEAFLSouthport [b]14.6 (90) – 5.5 (35)Fankhauser Reserve

a Competed as South Melbourne.

[b] In the final quarter with Southport leading 76 - 16, Southport were found to have 19 men on the field. Despite a headcount occurring that should have seen Southport's score re-set to zero the infringement was instead deemed an interchange breach with “no material impact on the outcome of the game and the score should stand”.[59]

Honour roll

Year Posn Coach Captain Best & Fairest Leading goalkicker (goals)
1932 Johnny Leonard Johnny Leonard Bill Faul Bob Pratt (71)
1933 1 Jack Bissett Jack Bissett Harry Clarke Bob Pratt (109)
1934 2 Jack Bissett Jack Bissett Terry Brain Bob Pratt (150)
1935 2 Jack Bissett Jack Bissett Ron Hillis Bob Pratt (103)
1936 2 Jack Bissett Jack Bissett Herbie Matthews Bob Pratt (64)
1937 9 Roy Cazaly Laurie Nash Herbie Matthews Laurie Nash (37)
1938 12 Roy Cazaly Herbie Matthews Len Thomas Roy Moore (34)
1939 12 Herbie Matthews Herbie Matthews Herbie Matthews Bob Pratt (72)
1940 10 Herbie Matthews Herbie Matthews Herbie Matthews Lou Reiffel (33)
1941 8 Joe Kelly Herbie Matthews Reg Ritchie Jack Graham (33)
1942 3 Joe Kelly Herbie Matthews Jim Cleary Lindsay White (80)
1943 8 Joe Kelly Herbie Matthews Herbie Matthews Charlie Culph (35)
1944 7 Joe Kelly Herbie Matthews Jim Cleary Ron Hartridge (31)
1945 2 William Adams Herbie Matthews Jack Graham Laurie Nash (56)
1946 7 William Adams Jack Graham Bill Williams Harry Mears (32)
1947 8 William Adams Jack Graham Bill Williams Bill Williams (38)
1948 10 William Adams, Jack Hale Jack Graham Ron Clegg Jack Graham (32)
1949 10 Jack Hale Bert Lucas Ron Clegg Dick Jones (27)
1950 11 Gordon Lane Gordon Lane Bill Williams Gordon Lane (47)
1951 8 Gordon Lane Gordon Lane Ron Clegg Bill Williams (41)
1952 5 Gordon Lane Gordon Lane Keith Schaefer Gordon Lane (33)
1953 8 Laurie Nash Ron Clegg Jim Taylor Ian Gillett (34)
1954 10 Herbie Matthews Ron Clegg Eddie Lane Eddie Lane (28)
1955 10 Herbie Matthews Bill Gunn Ian Gillett Eddie Lane (36)
1956 9 Herbie Matthews Ian Gillett Jim Dorgan Bill Gunn (28)
1957 10 Herbie Matthews Ron Clegg Jim Taylor Fred Goldsmith (43)
1958 9 Ron Clegg Ron Clegg Bob Skilton Max Oaten (34)
1959 9 Ron Clegg Ron Clegg Bob Skilton Bob Skilton (60)
1960 8 Bill Faul Ron Clegg Frank Johnson Max Oaten (39)
1961 11 Bill Faul Bob Skilton Bob Skilton Brian McGowan (38)
1962 12 Noel McMahen Bob Skilton Bob Skilton Bob Skilton (36)
1963 11 Noel McMahen Bob Skilton Bob Skilton Bob Skilton (36)
1964 11 Noel McMahen Bob Skilton Bob Skilton Max Papley (25)
1965 8 Bob Skilton Bob Skilton Bob Skilton Bob Kingston (48)
1966 8 Bob Skilton Bob Skilton Max Papley Austin Robertson Jr. (60)
1967 9 Alan Miller Bob Skilton Bob Skilton John Sudholz (35)
1968 9 Alan Miller Bob Skilton Bob Skilton John Sudholz (36)
1969 9 Norm Smith Bob Skilton Peter Bedford John Sudholz (35)
1970 4 Norm Smith Bob Skilton Peter Bedford John Sudholz (62)
1971 12 Norm Smith Bob Skilton Peter Bedford Peter Bedford (44)
1972 11 Norm Smith John Rantall Russell Cook Peter Bedford (28)
1973 12 Graeme John Peter Bedford Peter Bedford Peter Bedford (52)
1974 9 Graeme John Peter Bedford Norm Goss Jr. Norm Goss Jr. (37)
1975 12 Graeme John Peter Bedford Peter Bedford Graham Teasdale (38)
1976 8 Ian Stewart Peter Bedford Rick Quade Robert Dean (37)
1977 5 Ian Stewart Rick Quade Graham Teasdale Graham Teasdale (38)
1978 8 Des Tuddenham Rick Quade John Murphy John Murphy (31)
1979 10 Ian Stewart Rick Quade Barry Round Tony Morwood (56)
1980 6 Ian Stewart Barry Round David Ackerly John Roberts (67)
1981 9 Ian Stewart Barry Round Barry Round John Roberts (51)
19821 7 Rick Quade Barry Round David Ackerly Tony Morwood (45)
1983 11 Rick Quade Barry Round Mark Browning Craig Braddy (48)
1984 10 Rick Quade,

Bob Hammond

Barry Round,

Mark Browning

Bernie Evans Warwick Capper (39)
1985 10 John Northey Mark Browning Stephen Wright Warwick Capper (45)
1986 4 Tom Hafey Dennis Carroll Gerard Healy Warwick Capper (92)
1987 4 Tom Hafey Dennis Carroll Gerard Healy Warwick Capper (103)
1988 7 Tom Hafey Dennis Carroll Gerard Healy Barry Mitchell (35)
1989 7 Col Kinnear Dennis Carroll Mark Bayes Bernard Toohey (27)
1990 13 Col Kinnear Dennis Carroll Stephen Wright Jim West (34)
1991 12 Col Kinnear Dennis Carroll Barry Mitchell Jason Love (52)
1992 15 Gary Buckenara Dennis Carroll Paul Kelly Simon Minton-Connell (60)
1993 15 Gary Buckenara, Brett Scott, Ron Barassi Paul Kelly Paul Kelly Simon Minton-Connell (41)
1994 15 Ron Barassi Paul Kelly Daryn Cresswell Simon Minton-Connell (68)
1995 12 Ron Barassi Paul Kelly Tony Lockett Tony Lockett (110)
1996 2 Rodney Eade Paul Kelly Paul Kelly Tony Lockett (121)
1997 7 Rodney Eade Paul Kelly Paul Kelly Tony Lockett (37)
1998 5 Rodney Eade Paul Kelly Michael O'Loughlin Tony Lockett (109)
1999 8 Rodney Eade Paul Kelly Wayne Schwass Tony Lockett (82)
2000 10 Rodney Eade Paul Kelly Andrew Schauble Michael O'Loughlin (53)
2001 7 Rodney Eade Paul Kelly Paul Williams Michael O'Loughlin (35)
2002 11 Rodney Eade, Paul Roos Paul Kelly Paul Williams Barry Hall (55)
2003 4 Paul Roos Stuart Maxfield Adam Goodes Barry Hall (64)
2004 5 Paul Roos Stuart Maxfield Barry Hall Barry Hall (74)
2005 1 Paul Roos Stuart Maxfield² Brett Kirk Barry Hall (80)
2006 2 Paul Roos Barry Hall, Brett Kirk and Leo Barry Adam Goodes Barry Hall (78)
2007 7 Paul Roos Barry Hall, Brett Kirk and Leo Barry Brett Kirk Barry Hall (44)
2008 6 Paul Roos Brett Kirk, Leo Barry and Craig Bolton Jarrad McVeigh Barry Hall (41)
2009 12 Paul Roos Brett Kirk, Adam Goodes and Craig Bolton Ryan O'Keefe Adam Goodes (38)
2010 5 Paul Roos Brett Kirk, Adam Goodes and Craig Bolton Kieren Jack Adam Goodes (44)
2011 6 John Longmire Adam Goodes and Jarrad McVeigh[60] Adam Goodes Adam Goodes (41)
2012 1 John Longmire Adam Goodes and Jarrad McVeigh Josh Kennedy Lewis Jetta (45)
2013 4 John Longmire Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh Jarrad McVeigh Kurt Tippett (35)
2014 2 John Longmire Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh Luke Parker Lance Franklin (79)
2015 5 John Longmire Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh Josh Kennedy Lance Franklin (47)
2016 2 John Longmire Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh Josh Kennedy Lance Franklin (81)
2017 5 John Longmire Josh Kennedy Luke Parker Lance Franklin (73)
2018 6 John Longmire Josh Kennedy Jake Lloyd Lance Franklin (57)
2019 15 John Longmire Josh Kennedy, Dane Rampe and Luke Parker Dane Rampe Tom Papley (37)

1: Relocated to Sydney
²: Six rounds into the 2005 season, Stuart Maxfield ended his playing career due to chronic injury. Six players rotated as captain throughout the rest of the season: Brett Kirk (Rounds 7, 8, 19 and 20), Leo Barry (Rounds 9, 10, 21 and 22), Barry Hall (Rounds 11, 12 and the entire finals series), Ben Mathews (Rounds 13 and 14), Adam Goodes (Rounds 15 and 16) and Jude Bolton (Rounds 17 and 18).

Team records

  • Most gamesAdam Goodes (372)
  • Most goalsBob Pratt (681)
  • Most goals in matchTony Lockett (16), Round 19, 1995 v Fitzroy at Western Oval
  • Most goals in a seasonBob Pratt (150) in 1934
  • Most games coachedJohn Longmire (218)1
  • Highest score – 36.20 (236) vs Essendon 11.7 (73), Round 17, 1987
  • Lowest score – South Melbourne 0.5 (5) vs Carlton 3.6 (24), Round 8, 1899
  • Lowest score since 1919 – South Melbourne 1.9 (15) vs Geelong 8.9 (57), Round 16, 1964[61]
  • Highest losing score – South Melbourne 24.10 (154) vs Melbourne 24.23 (167), Round 1, 1979
  • Lowest winning score – South Melbourne 2.3 (15) vs Melbourne 1.7 (13), Round 6, 1898[62]
  • Lowest winning score since 1919 – South Melbourne 4.15 (39) vs Fitzroy 4.12 (36), Round 4, 1919
    • Since 1920 – South Melbourne 5.11 (41) vs St. Kilda 5.9 (39), Round 16, 1948
  • Greatest Winning Margin – (171 points) – South Melbourne 29.15 (189) vs St. Kilda 2.6 (18), Round 12, 1919
  • Greatest Losing Margin – (165 points) – South Melbourne 2.7 (19) vs Essendon 28.16 (184), Round 18, 1964

1 denotes a streak that is ongoing.

As of 2019, the Sydney Swans have not lost a premiership match by more than 100 points since Round 10, 1998.[63]

Individual awards

Best and Fairest

See Bob Skilton Medal

Brownlow Medal winners

Despite its historical lack of success, South Melbourne/Sydney has provided more Brownlow Medal winners (14) than any other club.

South Melbourne


Norm Smith Medal winners

The Norm Smith Medal is awarded to the player judged best-on-ground in the AFL Grand Final:

Leigh Matthews Trophy winners

Coleman Medal winners

AFL Rising Star winners

Mark of the Year winners

Australian Football Hall of Fame inductees

Team of the Century

Sydney announced its team of the century on 8 August 2003:

Sydney Swans Team of the Century
B: John Rantall John Heriot Vic Belcher
HB: Bill Faul Ron Clegg Dennis Carroll
C: David Murphy Greg Williams Herbie Matthews
HF: Tony Morwood Laurie Nash Gerard Healy
F: Bob Pratt Tony Lockett Paul Kelly (Vice-Captain)
Foll: Barry Round Peter Bedford Bob Skilton (Captain)
Int: Bill Williams Stephen Wright Daryn Cresswell
Fred Goldsmith Mark Bayes Harry Clarke, Mark Tandy
Coach: Jack Bissett




  • Andrew Pridham chairman (2013–present)
  • Jason Ball
  • Andrew McMaster
  • Robert Morgan
  • Greg Paramor
  • Rob Pascoe
  • Lynn Ralph
  • Brian Tyson


  • Tom Harley (2018- Current)
  • Andrew Ireland (2009-2018)
  • Myles Baron-Hay (2004–2009)
  • Phil Mullen
  • Colin Seery
  • Kelvin Templeton
  • Jordan Sembel

Supported charities

  • Wally Jackson Research Fund
  • Sydney Australian Football Foundation (SAFF)

Media coverage


The Sydney Swans receive regular exposure from Sydney's two major daily newspapers, The Daily Telegraph, the Sydney Morning Herald and their respective counterpart publications, The Sunday Telegraph and The Sun-Herald. Articles about the Swans can occasionally be found in local community newspapers, free magazines and Sydney street press publications.


The Sydney Swans are sponsored by radio station Triple M which broadcasts all of its games, including finals, live. Occasionally, 702 ABC Sydney may cover Swans matches if they are played on a Saturday afternoon, regardless of where they are playing. If they play in Sydney during that time schedule, appropriately 702 ABC Sydney will cover the match. Matches played at other times and days are broadcast on the ABC NewsRadio station's analogue AM/FM frequencies for listeners in Sydney, Newcastle, the NSW Central Coast and Canberra. Most Swans matches can be heard by listeners in the Riverina region of N.S.W. via the ABC RiverinaWagga Wagga (2RVR) service, on the 675 AM frequency. Match coverage can be heard anywhere in the world via live streaming at the official AFL website or by downloading the AFL app for smartphones such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy.


From 2002 to 2011 Network Ten would televise all Swans games played in Melbourne and outside of N.S.W. live, but on a half-hour delay when played in Sydney for Sydney viewers and via affiliated stations in N.S.W and Canberra. In past and recent years the Seven Network would broadcast Swans games to viewers in Sydney and most of N.S.W. and Canberra via the Prime TV network (now branded as Prime7). Matches were telecast either live, on a 30–90-minute delayed broadcast or late-night replay. Commencing 2002 all their games were broadcast live or on same day delay by Subscription television provider Foxtel across Australia on either the Fox Footy Channel or Fox Sports channels.

From 2012 to 2016, the AFL commenced a new broadcast deal requiring the Seven Network and their affiliate station Prime7 to broadcast all Sydney Swans (and Greater Western Sydney Giants) games live to viewers in Sydney and most of regional New South Wales and Canberra. These games are screened on the 7mate channel in these regions. Foxtel also signed a new broadcast deal for the 2012 – 2016 seasons which included screening all AFL matches (including all Swans games) live across Australia on their Fox Sports and Fox Footy channels.

See also


  1. "ASIC Registry Search".
  2. "Sydney Swans Constitution" (PDF).
  3. Sydney – Part 2 Archived 7 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine – FullPointsFooty. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  4. Mitchell, Justin (2015). "AFL Finals Summary All Clubs 2000–2015". Google Docs. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  5. "Which was the best club since 2000?". Staff writers. Australian Football League. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  6. History – Official AFL Website of the Sydney Swans Archived 1 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Thursday, 23 May 1867". The Argus. Melbourne. 23 May 1867. p. 5.
  8. "Football". The Australasian. VI (162). Melbourne. 8 May 1869. pp. 588–589.
  9. "Chapter four – Sydney or bust: the South Melbourne Football Club's 1981 relocation saga" (PDF). p. 111. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  10. Nickname – AFL Archived 8 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  11. Edited by Ross, J and G. Hutchison, G.,100 Years of Australian Football, Published by Viking, Penguin Books Australia Ltd, 1996
  12. Branagan, Mark and Lefebvre, Mike, Bloodstained Angels, The Rise & Fall of the Foreign Legion, 1995, self-published, Melbourne, Australia
  13. Peter Pindar (18 October 1879). "The Football Season of 1879 – Part 1". The Australasian. XXVII (707). Melbourne. p. 493.
  14. Peter Pindar (16 October 1880). "The Football Season of 1880". The Australasian. XXIX (759). Melbourne. p. 492.
  15. "Football Notes". The Argus. Melbourne. 28 September 1896. p. 6.
  16. "The Football Premiership". The Argus. Melbourne. 5 October 1896. p. 5.
  17. The caricature at the foot of page 10 of Table Talk (22 June 1933) was created by Richard "Dick" Ovenden (1897–1972). From left to right those represented are: Jack Bisset, the team's captain; Dick Mullaly, the club's secretary; Brighton Diggins, from Subiaco (WAFL); Bert Beard, from South Fremantle (WAFL); Bill Faul, from Subiaco (WAFL); Jim O'Meara, from East Perth (WAFL); Frank Davies, from City (NTFA); Laurie Nash, from City (NTFA); John Bowe, from Subiaco (WAFL); Jack Wade, from Port Adelaide (SANFL); Ossie Bertram, from West Torrens (SANFL); and Wilbur Harris, from West Torrens (SANFL).
  18. Shaw, I.W. (2006) The Bloodbath. Scribe Publications.
  19. J. M. Rohan (24 January 1934). "Real story behind South Melbourne's football premiership". The Sporting Globe. Melbourne. p. 7.
  20. "On This Day: Swans move to Sydney". Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  21. Mike Coward (15 October 1981). "VFL 'no' sends South to Sydney". The Age. Melbourne. p. 32.
  22. Geoff Slattery (7 November 1981). "South Players on strike". The Age. Melbourne. p. 40.
  23. "Revisiting the South Melbourne to Sydney saga". The Roar. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  24. Simunovich, Peter (3 June 1982). "The Swans – officially". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 67.
  25. Williams, Greg: Diesel: The Greg Williams Story, page 91. Pan MacMillan Australia, 1995
  26. Williams, Greg: Diesel: The Greg Williams Story, p. 93. Pan MacMillan Australia, 1995
  27. 1992 AFL season
  28. Jim Main, Aussie rules for dummies (2nd edition, 2008), p.128
  29. Cowley, Michael (19 October 2009) Gen Next must fly for Swans as wily old birds go
  30. Minutes Before Nick Davis' GOAL v Geelong | 2005 Semi-final [HD] YouTube (originally broadcast by Network Ten)
  31. Leo Barry – "That Mark" (2005 AFL Finals Series – Grand Final – Sydney Swans vs. West Coast Eagles) YouTube (originally broadcast by Network Ten)
  32. "Bombers upset Swans". 1 April 2006.
  33. Forsaith, Rob (15 July 2012). "Enduring rivalry one for the birds". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australian Associated Press. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  34. Dockers smother Swans to reach first Grand Final, official website, 21 September 2013
  35. 2013 AFL Season review: Sydney Swans, The Roar, 26 September 2013
  36. "Dozen up for unstoppable Swans – The New Daily". 12 July 2014.
  37. Hassett, Sebastian (19 July 2015). "Biggest loss in 17 years a humiliation for Swans, says Luke Parker". The Age.
  38. , official website, 8 September 2015
  39. , Fox Sports, 12 September 2015
  40. "Hawks and Crows critical of Swans' salary cap –". 16 October 2012.
  41. " – Subscribe to The Daily Telegraph for exclusive stories".
  42. AFL to scrap COLA, official website, 4 March 2014
  43. , official website, 21 January 2015
  44. , official website, 14 August 2015
  45. , The Age, 20 August 2015
  46. , official website, 14 October 2015
  47. , The Age, 22 October 2015
  48. Swans 2013 fixture released, Sydney Swans official website, 31 October 2012
  49. "ISC 2018 COMING SOON". Archived from the original on 4 November 2013.
  50. VFL Uniforms by season (since 1897) on
  51. Sydney Swans Club Song
  52. "Sydney Swans to play all AFL games at SCG after quitting ANZ Stadium". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 February 2016.
  53. "The rise and fall of ANZ Stadium as an AFL venue". The Roar. 1 March 2016.
  54. "Lakeside Oval upgrade set to hinder Swans' pre-season". 21 November 2018.
  55. "Sydney Swans secure new home for HQ & Community Centre in Moore Park". Sydney Swans. 18 October 2018.
  56. "GWS Giants come of age to upset Sydney Swans in first qualifying final". 10 September 2016.
  57. "AFL lands NRL huge blow with bumper crowd for Sydney Swans v GWS Giants qualifying final". The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 September 2016.
  58. De Silva, Chris (8 September 2018). "GWS Giants humiliate Sydney Swans in elimination final". Wide World of Sports. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  59. "NEAFL Grand Final ends in chaos as Southport wins flag despite breaking 19 men on field rule, not having score wiped". Fox Sports. 16 September 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  60. Brettig, Daniel (15 February 2011). Goodes, McVeigh named as Swans co-captains. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  61. Ian Randle kicked the Swans sole goal with the only kick of his career
  62. See Least Aggregate Scoring Shots
  63. "AFL Tables – Sydney – Game Records".
  • Jim Main (1996). Plugger and the Mighty Swans. Wilkinson Books. ISBN 1-86350-229-7.
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