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The Sydney Swans are an Australian Football League (AFL) club based in Sydneymarker, New South Walesmarker.

The club, founded in 1874, was known as the South Melbourne Football Club until it relocated to Sydney in 1982 to become the Sydney Swans. Sydney is the only AFL club based in New South Wales, and was also the first club in the competition to be based outside of Victoriamarker.

The Swans play most home games at the Sydney Cricket Groundmarker, while larger games are played at ANZ Stadiummarker (the former Olympic Stadium at Homebush Baymarker).

In 2005 the Swans narrowly defeated the West Coast Eagles in the 2005 Grand Final by 4 points in an epic low scoring encounter. This victory ended a 72 year premiership drought; the longest for a club in VFL/AFL history. The following year Sydney again played West Coast in the 2006 Grand Final, but was defeated by the Eagles for the premiership title, losing by one point - the closest Grand Final result since a draw in 1977.


Old South Melbourne Football Club shield
The inauguration date of the club is officially 19 June 1874, but it only adopted the title South Melbourne Football Club four weeks later, on 15 July. The club represented the Melbournemarker suburb of South Melbournemarker, one of the city's oldest.

In 1880 it absorbed the Albert Park club (one of the VFA's foundation senior clubs), and by 1890 it had replaced the original blue and white with the now familiar red and white of the South Melbourne coat of arms.

Nicknamed “Southerners”, the team were more colorfully known as the “Bloods" , in reference to the bright red sash on their white jumpers (the sash was replaced with the current red “V” in 1932). The colorful epithet the “Bloodstained Angels” was also in use. The “Bloodstained Angels” epithet proved prophetic when South Melbourne played in the 1945 "Bloodbath" Grand Final against Carlton, a game legendary for its brutal violence which saw many of the Swans' players jumpers stained with their own or the opposition’s blood (from the book "The Blood Stained Angels", a history of the South Melbourne Football Club). The 1945 Grand Final saw 10 players reported and suspended for a total of 69 games. The club was based at Lake Ovalmarker, also home of the South Melbourne Cricket Club.


A junior foundation club of the VFA, South Melbourne played in the Victorian Football Association from 1877 until 1896. During this period, South Melbourne were particularly successful winning five VFA premierships, including a 'three-in-a-row'. These came in 1881, 1885, and 1888-89-90. South Melbourne were also VFA runners-up in 1880, 1883, 1886 and 1896.

At the end of the 1896 season, Collingwood and South Melbourne finished exactly equal in all respects at the top of the VFA's premiership ladder. This was the first time this had occurred in VFA history. The VFA determined that an elimination match should take place to decide the season's premiership on 3 October 1896 at the East Melbourne Cricket Groundmarker.

Collingwood won the match, six goals to five, in front of an estimated crowd of 29,000. Even though this victory brought Collingwood a premiership, it is uncertain whether the match itself was promoted as a "Premiership Match" or as a "Grand Final" at the time.

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.


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

Early success

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 4 successive grand final appearances from 1933-1936, albeit with only one premiership in 1933. 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.

It was during this period that the team became known as the Swans, the nickname having been given courtesy of the number of West Australians in the team (Swans being the state emblem of WA). The name stuck, partially due to the association with nearby Albert Park and Lakemarker, also known for its white swans (ironically 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 Victorian club

In the following years, South Melbourne consistently struggled as their inner-city recruiting area largely emptied. The club missed the finals in 1946 and continued to fall so that by 1950 they were second-last on the ladder. Though they temporarily bounced back and nearly made the finals in 1952, in the following seventeen years South Melbourne did not finish above eighth position (though in 1953 and 1965 they won as many games as they lost). 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.

Under the legendary Norm Smith, South Melbourne finally improved substantially in 1970 with a fourth place. However, having probably the worst country zone in the league and a poor metropolitan zone meant South Melbourne still possessed not the slightest access to the best emerging players, and their 1970 joy was short-lived. Between Round 7, 1972 and Round 13, 1973, they lost 29 consecutive games. There was a brief glimmer of hope when South Melbourne made the finals in 1977 finishing 5th under coach Ian Stewart, but losing the Elimination final at VFL Parkmarker to Richmond Football Club by 34 points. The same year Graeme Teasdale, who had moved from full-forward to the ruck won the Brownlow Medal. By the end of the 1970s South Melbourne had massive debts after struggling for so long and, despite strong supporter opposition, in the early 1980s they were given the "choice" by the VFL of relocation to Sydney or oblivion.

Relocation to Sydney

Sydney 1980s shield logo
Swans moved to Sydney (and the SCG) in 1982 as part of the VFL's attempts to broaden its appeal, a move which ultimately culminated in its extension into a national competition, the AFL.

The move to Sydney is the subject of the Weddings Parties Anything song 'The Swans Return'.

On 31 July 1985, for what was thought to be $6.3 million, Dr. 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 snapped up former Geelong coach Tom Hafey. Hafey, in turn, used his knowledge of Geelong’s contracts to snap up 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). 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.

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 ferrari, 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', a cheerleading group that were unique for an AFL club. The Swanettes did not get much performance time, owing to the short intervals between quarters of play in the AFL 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 AFL 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 are the only team to have scored two double-tons (200-plus scores) in a row.

Dark times

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

By 1988 the licence was sold back to the VFL for ten dollars. Losses were in the millions. A group of financial backers including Mike Willessee, 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. 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 defender Bernard Toohey 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, Tony Morwood and David Murphy came to an end, 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 side finished last on the ladder in 1992, 1993 and 1994.

The AFL began to step 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 or fold altogether. With draft and salary cap concessions in the early 1990s and a series of notable recruits, the team fielded a competitive team after the early part of the decade. During this time, the side was largely held together by two inspirational skippers, both from the Wagga Waggamarker 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.

Return to finals football and media spotlight

The Red and White army celebrate a goal at the AFL Grand Final
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 rival rugby league football code in Australia, helped the Swans to pull in larger crowds.

1995 would be Barassi's last year in charge. The Swans won 8 games- as much as they did in the previous three years 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. Barassi left an improving team, a club in a much better state than he found them.

Former Hawthorn player Rodney Eade took over the reigns in 1996 and after a slow start (they lost their first 2 games of the season), turned the club around into a competitive 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 MCGmarker.

Since 1996, the Swans have made the finals in each season except 2000, 2002 and 2009.By 1997, the average for home ground attendances had peaked at 36,612.

Former Swans favourite son Paul Roos was appointed coach part-way through the 2002 season after it became obvious that Rodney Eade was not performing as coach. Roos had an immediate impact, winning most of the remaining games that year, and continuing a record as a successful coach with the Swans for over half a decade.

A new home ground in ANZ Stadiummarker (then known as Telstra Stadium) provided increased capacity over the SCG. The Swans' first game played at the Stadium in round 9, 2002 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.

Sydney was able to recruit another St Kilda export in the Lockett mould, Barry Hall. Though 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 the new surrounds and eventually became a cult figure and club leader in his own right.

When the then-Telstra Stadium was unavailable for the 2005 semi final, the game against Geelong drew a crowd of 39,079 at the SCG. The record crowd for an AFL fixture at that venue is 46,168 in 1997 also against Geelong.

The culmination of the recent success is the 2005 premiership against the West Coast Eagles played in front of 91,898 at the MCG taking the flag to Sydney for the first time and breaking a 72 year drought for the club. It also broke the longest premiership drought in the history of the competition.

Partly as a result of the exclusive marketshare, crowds at home games tend to be larger on average than those drawn by the nine National Rugby League clubs in Sydney, despite the fact that rugby league is well established as Sydney's most popular football code.

Over the history of the AFL, the Swans have been one of the most innovative clubs in the VFL/AFL in finding new markets. In recent years, the club has invested time and energy in the US marketmarker (with the help of coach Paul Roos). In 2006 as part of Australia Week celebrations in the USA, the Sydney Swans were beaten by the Kangaroos Football Club in an exhibition match at the University of California Los Angelesmarker (UCLA). The club formed affiliation agreements with the Los Angeles Swans and the Chicago Swans in the USAFL.

2005 Grand Final

Sydney played the AFL Grand Final on 24 September 2005 against the West Coast Eagles defeating them by 4 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 Victoriamarker.

In 2005 the Swans came under enormous public scrutiny, even from AFL commissioner 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). The 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.

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 Bridgemarker during the week; the same flag was later given to WAmarker premier Geoff Gallop to fly on top of the state legislature in Perth as part of the friendly wager between Gallop and NSWmarker premier Morris Iemma.

2006 Season

Rnd 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
Opp Ess PA Car Mel Gee BL Ric WB Haw Kan StK Col Fre Ade WCE Ric PA Ess Mel Gee BL Car
Venue TDmarker SCGmarker TDmarker SCGmarker TSmarker Gmarker TDmarker SCGmarker MCGmarker MOmarker SCGmarker TSmarker SCGmarker SCGmarker Smarker SCGmarker ASmarker SCGmarker MCGmarker SSmarker TSmarker SCGmarker
Result L L W L W W W W W W L L W L L W W W W L W W
Margin 27 26 7 5 22 32 118 26 65 7 2 13 33 39 2 48 27 43 32 27 57 92
Postn 12 14 12 12 9 8 5 4 4 4 4 6 6 6 7 7 6 4 3 5 5 4

The Swans started 2006 quietly with multiple pre-season losses and poor performances early in the home and away season. The media diagnosed a "premiership hangover". Despite this, they finished the season strongly in 4th place, obtaining a double chance in the finals and a home Preliminary Final berth after a strong one-point victory over the West Coast Eagles at Subiaco Oval in Perth. In the Preliminary Final, the Swans defeated Fremantle by a considerable margin at Telstra Stadiummarker.

2006 Grand Final

Sydney Swans squad for the 2006 AFL Grand Final

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 greatest rivalries in VFL/AFL history. The six games between the two sides (from the start of the 2005 finals to the 2006 Grand Final inclusive) were decided by a combined margin of 13 points. Four of those six games were finals.

Sydney Swans reserves

The Swans field a reserves side in the ACT competition in the Premier Division where out of form Swans players play. They have been dominant in the ACT competition, winning the 2007 premiership and being undefeated since they lost in the 2004 preliminary final versus Queanbeyan, until round 1 2008 where they lost again to Queanbeyan. The Swans have signed another agreement to stay in the Premier Division and they acknowledged that their dominance in the past three seasons was "unhealthy". In 2007, Swans player Jarred Moore won the Mulrooney Medal, which is the ACT equivalent of the Brownlow Medal.

2007 season

Round 1 Sydney 10.13(73) lost to West Coast 10.14(74)This was the third consecutive match between these two teams decided by a point. The Swans trailed by 19 points late in the final quarter before kicking three quick goals to get within a point.

Round 2 Richmond 11.6(72) lost to Sydney 13.10(88)

Round 3 Sydney 13.18(96) defeated Brisbane Lions 10.9(69)

Round 4 Adelaide 9.7(61) defeated Sydney 5.14(44)Sydney had 3 more shots than Adelaide, but their inaccuracy proved costly

Round 5 Sydney 17.7(109) defeated Melbourne 8.12(60)

Round 6 Kangaroos 16.15(111) defeated Sydney 14.11(95)

Round 7 St. Kilda 15.7(97) defeated Sydney 11.5 (71)

Round 8 Sydney 17.16(118) defeated Port Adelaide 13.9(87)Sydney inflicted Port with its second defeat for the season, ending its best start to a season

Round 9 Western Bulldogs 8.9(57) lost to Sydney 15.10(100)

Round 10 Sydney Swans 11.7(73) lost to Essendon 11.8(74)

Round 11 Hawthorn 9.12(66) lost to Sydney 11.9(75)

Round 12 Sydney 8.9(57) lost to Collingwood 11.10(76)This was labelled as the Swans worst performance in 5 years by coach Paul Roos. The Swans had only kicked 3 goals to 3/4 time, and only a few "junk-time" goals regained some scoreboard respectability

Round 13 Geelong 13.9(87) defeated Sydney 10.9(69)

Round 14 Sydney 11.23(89) defeated Fremantle 9.7(61)

Round 15 Sydney 25.12(162) defeated Carlton 15.10(100)

Round 16 West Coast 16.16(112) defeated Sydney 15.10(100)This game differed from the previous contests between these two teams. For the first time since 2005, the winning margin was greater than a goal. Also the scoring was much heavier. Rather than the traditional "Battle of attrition" which these two teams are known for, this game was much more attacking.

Round 17 Sydney 21.12(138) defeated Richmond 10.12(72)

Round 18 Melbourne 9.10(64) lost to Sydney 17.10(112)

Round 19 Sydney 12.10(82) defeated St. Kilda 9.11(65)

Round 20 Brisbane Lions 9.9(63) drew with Sydney 8.15(63)This was Sydney's first draw since 2002.

Round 21 Collingwood 15.11(101) defeated Sydney 11.10(76)

Round 22 Sydney 22.9(141) defeated Hawthorn 10.9(69)

Sydney finished the regular season in 7th spot, and advanced to the finals stage, where they would meet Collingwood at the MCG in an elimination final.

Elimination Final Collingwood 18.17(125) defeated Sydney 13.9(87)Sydney were outplayed most of the night by a committed Collingwood Side. Beside from a period before half time, when Sydney kicked 4 unanswered goals, Collingwood were always in control. By Quarter time, Collingwood were out to a 31 point lead. That lead would be cut to just 5 points 2 minutes into the third quarter, but after that, Collingwood ran out convincing winners by 38 points

This was Sydney's earliest exit since 2002, when they failed to make the finals. The season was seen as somewhat a disappointment, as only victories against lesser teams saw them through to a 5th consecutive finals campaign. Within the 2007 trade week for the 2008 season premiership winning players such as Jude Bolton, Amon Buchanan and other key players were placed to be traded leading to changes for the Swans 2008 season.

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.

Supporter base

As the only AFL club in Sydney, the Swans have a large population base to draw on.In 2006, following the first premiership in 72 years, the club achieved a record membership and the biggest since 1999. There is still a healthy Melbourne following for the Swans, particularly a revival in the late 1990s. Almost 10,000 Swans members are (South) Melbourne based and the club experiences good support when the team plays in Melbourne and many also make the long trip to Sydney for home games as well. The club recently celebrated in 2007 their 25th anniversary since relocating from South Melbournemarker, with parties hosted both in Sydneymarker and their former home.

Some famous fans include movie star Nicole Kidman, singers Shannon Noll, Delta Goodrem, Australian band Human Nature, Australian duo The Presets, radio personality Adam Spencer, television personality Ian "Dicko" Dickson, media personalities Sandra Sully, Neil Cordy and former cricket legend Glenn McGrath, amongst others.

Year Members Finishing position² Average Home crowd
1982 7th 15,993
1983 11th 12,025
1984 2,750 10th 12,497
1985 2,777 10th 10,137
1986 4,927 4th, semi-finalists 25,819
1987 3,594 4th, semi-finalists 22,032
1988 2,516 7th 12,311
1989 2,631 7th 12,317
1990 2,624 13th 9,178
1991 2,907 12th 11,521
1992 3,020 15th 9,881
1993 3,097 15th 9,423
1994 3,327 15th 9,813
1995 6,088 12th 15,949
1996 9,525 2nd, runners-up 24,996
1997 22,109 7th, qualifying finalists 36,612
1998 31,089 5th, semi-finalists 31,549
1999 31,175 8th, qualifying finalists 30,586
2000 30,177 10th 25,308
2001 28,022 7th, elimination finalists 27,556
2002 27,755 11th 25,270
2003 21,270 3rd, preliminary finalists 32,244
2004 25,010 5th, semi-finalists 30,964
2005 24,955 1st, premiers 31,516
2006 30,382 2nd, runners-up 32,877¹
2007 32,500¹ 7th, elimination finalists 35,632¹
2008 26,721¹ 6th, Semi-Finalists 32,834
2009 10th 30,506
¹(at 30 June, 2008)²following finals matches


West Coast Eagles

The Swans developed arguably their most famous modern rivalry against the Perth based West Coast Eagles between 2005 and 2007. Six consecutive games between the two teams (that is, from the 2005 Qualifying Final to the Round 1 match of 2007) were each been decided by less than a goal, resulting in two wins to Sydney and 4 to West Coast (including a Grand Final win each). The difference in aggregate across the six games was three points and the sum of the margins was thirteen points.

In 2005, Sydney lost the Qualifying Final to the Eagles by four points, only to later win the Grand Final by four points against the Eagles. In 2006, the Eagles lost the Qualifying Final to Sydney by one point, only to later win the Grand Final by one point against the Swans. Strangely, the total scores in those two games were also the same, but reversed - 85 d 84.

Below are the results of recent clashes between these rivals:

2005 Qualifying Final, Subiaco
  • West Coast 10.9 (69) beat Sydney 10.5 (65)- 4 points
2005 Grand Final, MCG
  • Sydney 8.10 (58) beat West Coast 7.12 (54)- 4 points
2006 Round 15, Subiaco
  • West Coast 9.13 (67) beat Sydney 9.11 (65)- 2 points
2006 Qualifying Final, Subiaco
  • Sydney 13.7 (85) beat West Coast 12.12 (84)- 1 point
2006 Grand Final, MCG
  • West Coast 12.13 (85) beat Sydney Swans 12.12 (84)- 1 point
2007, Round 1, Telstra Stadium
  • West Coast 11.8. (74) beat Sydney Swans 10.13 (73)- 1 point

This trend was broken when the teams clashed again in Round 16 of 2007. The Eagles won the game 112-100, a margin almost as high as the combined total margins of the previous 6 contests between the two teams.

Round 4 2008 saw Sydney 16.11 (107) beat West Coast 5.15 (45) at ANZ Stadium. Although this game wasn't the traditional low scoring heart stopper (Sydney won by 62 points, its biggest win over the Eagles since 2000), it did have its fair share of controversy. Swans player, Barry Hall KO'ed West Coast's Brent Staker, which made headlines worldwide.

However in round 11 another epic took place at Subiaco Oval with a thrilling 5 point win to the Swans, with Jude Bolton kicking the winning goal with just 90 seconds left.

2008, Round 11, Subiaco Oval
  • Sydney Swans 12.11. (83) beat West Coast 12.11 (78)- 5 points
2009, Round 5, ANZ Stadium
  • Sydney Swans 16.10. (106) beat West Coast 15.11 (101)- 5 points

Overall of the 40 games played between the two teams Sydney have won 21, lost 19 and drawn 0.

Brisbane Lions

The Swans share a strong rivalry with the Brisbane Lions, which is based on the ongoing sporting and political rivalry between the two states New South Walesmarker and Queenslandmarker. Since the mid 1990s the two sides have played for the Alan Schwab Shield, named after the late AFL administrator who worked to establish the two sides in traditional rugby league territory. Between them the two clubs have won four of the past eight AFL Premierships.

In recent years, the Swans have dominated the Brisbane Lions, even during the Lions halycon years. Since 2003, the Swans have won 9 of 12 games against the Lions, plus a draw in 2007.

Round 3, 2009 saw the Swans finally fall to the Brisbane Lions after five years of dominance. The Lions won by 33 points.

St Kilda

The Swans share a long and storied rivalry with St Kilda that dates back to the days when South Melbourne played at the Lake Ovalmarker on the other side of Melbournemarker's Albert Parkmarker Lake, not far from St Kilda's old home ground Junction Ovalmarker. Because the Swans and the Saints used to be towards the bottom of the ladder on a regular basis after the Second World War up until St Kilda's move away from the Junction Ovalmarker clashes between both sides used to be dubbed "The Lake Premiership".

The trading of Adam Schneider and Sean Dempster, as well as the team now being coached by the former assistant coach at Sydney, Ross Lyon, have lead to a much stronger rivalry between the clubs, with matches being dubbed "Ross versus Roos" by many commentators. For the record, Ross Lyon leads Paul Roos 3-2 in terms of head-to-head as of 29 March 2008. St Kilda won the most recent clash by 15 points in what was a momentum-wrecking defeat for the Swans, as they bid to make the finals for a seventh straight year.

Legitimate claims by St Kilda CEO Archie Fraser against Craig Bolton, suggesting Bolton had "tunneled" star forward Nick Riewoldt, has led to unfounded outrage amongst Swans fans, and has also increased the rivalry between the two clubs.

North Melbourne

Stemming back from the 1996 Grand Final loss at the hands of North Melbourne, Sydney has established a minor rivalry with the Kangaroos over recent history. The grand final loss established the beginning of the rivalry denying the Swans the chance to end the then longest premiership drought. The swans 23 point lead and apparent winning lead mid way through the second quarter further fuels the rivalry between the two teams as the Roos ran out eventual 43 point winners. The rivalry was further extended in 2000 when North Melbourne attempted to play "home" games in Sydney to further promote the game of Australian Rules football, which was deemed that the Kangaroos were trying to invade Swans' "territory". A cumulation of close games, including a goal after the siren win by Daryn Cresswell in 2002, and immense and 100+ point winning margins, ensured the Swans' rivalry was maintained with the Kangaroos in recent years.

A recent clash ended in a controversial draw, Sydney 8.16.(64) - Nth Melbourne 9.10.(64). Brett Kirk thought that he'd kicked the winning goal with over a minute remaining but the ball was touched on the line by North's Michael Firrito, ensuring a draw. Had the ball not been touched the Swans would have won by 5 points. Although Sydney had an extra player,Darren Jolly who was supposed to come off for Jesse White, on the field who was directly involved in the play. The Swans have now not beaten the Kangaroos in Melbourne for more than 10 years.

These two teams met in the first week of the 2008 finals, and the Swans ran out convincing 35 point winners. It was their first finals showdown since the 1996 AFL Grand Final.

New Western Sydney Team

In 2008, the AFL announced that it intends to introduce a new Western Sydney team in 2012.

These two teams will likely become rivals.

VFA Premierships


  • 1881 (as South Melbourne)
  • 1885 (as South Melbourne)
  • 1888 (as South Melbourne)
  • 1889 (as South Melbourne)
  • 1890 (as South Melbourne)


  • 1880 (as South Melbourne)
  • 1883 (as South Melbourne)
  • 1886 (as South Melbourne)
  • 1896 (as South Melbourne) – defeated by Collingwood 6.9 (45) to 5.10 (40) (first ever Grand Final)

VFL/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)


  • 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); match is legendary for the brutal violence that earned the Swans the moniker "Blood-Stained Angels"
  • 1996 – defeated by the Kangaroos 19.17 (131) to 13.10 (88); first grand final appearance after relocation
  • 2006 – defeated by West Coast Eagles 12.13 (85) to 12.12 (84)

Current squad

As of 29 November 2009:

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 Len 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 Claude 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 Henry 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 Ray 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 Allan Miller Bob Skilton Bob Skilton John Sudholz (35)
1968 9 Allan 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 Norm Goss (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, Ron Barassi Paul Kelly Paul Kelly Simon Minton-Connell (41)
1994 15 Ron Barassi Paul Kelly Daryn Creswell 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 N/A Paul Roos Brett Kirk, Adam Goodes and Craig Bolton N/A N/A
2011 N/A John Longmire N/A N/A N/A

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 games - Michael O'Loughlin (303)
  • Most goals - Bob Pratt (681)
  • Most goals in match - Tony Lockett (16)
  • Most goals in a season - Bob Pratt (150)
  • Most games coached - Paul Roos (153*)
  • Highest team score - 36.20 (236) vs Essendon 1987
  • Greatest Winning Margin - (171 points) - Sth Melb vs St Kilda 1919

Individual awards

Best and Fairest

See Bob Skilton Medal

Brownlow Medal winners

South Melbourne/Sydney has provided more Brownlow Medal winners (14) than any other club.

South Melbourne


Leigh Matthews Trophy winners

Coleman Medal winners

AFL Rising Star winners

Mark of the Year winners

Australian Football Hall of Fame players

Team of the Century

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



  • Richard Colless Chairman (1993-present)

  • Jason Ball
  • Bob Campbell
  • Andrew McMaster
  • Robert Morgan
  • Greg Paramor
  • Rob Pascoe
  • Andrew Pridham

  • Myles Baron-Hay (2004-present)
  • Phil Mullen (Acting)
  • Colin Seery
  • Kelvin Templeton
  • Jordan Sembel

Supported Charities

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

The Sydney Swans are sponsored by radio station Triple Mmarker which broadcasts all of its games live. Occasionally, 702 ABC Sydney may cover Swans matches if they are played on a Saturday afternoon (when they are playing in Melbourne).

Club jumper

The jumper is white with a red back and a red yoke with a silhouette of the Sydney Opera Housemarker 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 2007 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.

Club song

(sung to the tune of the Notre Dame Victory March)

Cheer, cheer the red and the white,

Honour the name by day and by night,

Lift that noble banner high,

Shake down the thunder from the sky

Whether the odds be great or small,

Swans will go in and win overall

While her loyal sons are marching

Onwards to victory.

Club mascot

Syd 'Swannie' Skilton, Sydney Swans Mascot Manor mascot

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 Swans home games is still known as Cyggy. (as in cygnet).

See also


  1. [1] Eagles hold off Swans in thriller
  2. History - Official AFL Website of the Sydney Swans
  3. Nickname - AFL
  4. Edited by Ross, J and G. Hutchison, G. ,100 Years of Australian Football, Published by Viking, Penguin Books Australia Ltd, 1996
  5. Branagan, Mark and Lefebvre, Mike, Bloodstained Angels, The Rise & Fall of the Foreign Legion, 1995, self-published, Melbourne, Australia
  6. Day the Blood-Stained Angels were born - AFL - Sport -
  7. For a detailed history of the evolution and development of the manner in which the VFA premiers were determined, and finals system used by the early Victorian Football League (VFL) see Early VFL Final systems.
  8. Shaw, I.W. (2006)The Bloodbath. Scribe Publications.
  9. Williams, Greg: Diesel: The Greg Williams Story, page 91. Pan MacMillan Australia, 1995
  10. ibid, p. 93
  11. Jim Main, Aussie rules for dummies (2nd edition, 2008), p 42.
  12. ibid, p.128

External links

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