Sydney Swans

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The Sydney Swans are an Australian Football League (AFL) club based in Sydney. They play most home games at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with 'blockbuster' games played at Telstra Stadium (the former Olympic Stadium at Homebush). They are the 2005 AFL Premiers, after defeating the West Coast Eagles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 24 September 2005 by four points.


The inauguration date of the club is officially June 19, 1874, but it only adopted the title South Melbourne Football Club four weeks later, on July 15. In 1880 it merged with an Albert Park club, and by 1890 had replaced the original blue and white with the now familiar red and white of Albert Park. Nicknamed "The Bloods" (short for Blood-Stained Angels, in reference to the colours), it played in the Victorian Football Association until 1896 when it was a founding club of the Victorian Football League. The club was based at Lake Oval and won three VFL premierships in 1909, 1918 and 1933. It struggled for money, players and fans until the early 1980s when it was presented with the choice between moving to Sydney, a potentially enormous hitherto untapped market for Australian rules football, and oblivion.

The Swans moved to Sydney in 1982 as part of the VFL's attempts to broaden its appeal which culminated in its extension into a national competition, the AFL. In 1985 the VFL created one of the messiest deals ever associated with football and almost brought an end to the Sydney Swans.

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. 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.

With substantial monetary and management support from the AFL, the club survived, and with player draft concessions in the early 1990s, has fielded a competitive team throughout the past decade and has attracted reasonable crowds. (In 1996 they 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.

Since 1995, the Swans have made the finals in each season except 2000 and 2002. 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.

Big Crowds

Sydney Swans home crowds tend to be larger on average than for Sydney's traditional football code, Rugby League.

Following the initial relocation and launch in Sydney, the team began playing at the SCG in front of crowds in excess of 20,000, similar to the regular attendances in Melbourne. However, at times attendances dropped below 10,000 when the team was performing poorly. During the mid-1990s, the team's increased competitiveness saw some crowds in excess of 30,000.

A new home ground in Stadium Australia 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 at Stadium Australia on Saturday 23 August 2003 set an attendance record for the largest crowd to watch an AFL game outside of Victoria with 72,393 spectators (near capacity) attending and was the largest home and away AFL crowd at any Stadium for 2003. A preliminary final against the Brisbane Lions at Stadium Australia in 2003 attracted 71,019 people.

When Stadium Australia was unavailable for the 2005 preliminary final against Geelong drew a capacity crowd of 39,079 at the SCG. The record crowd for an AFL fixture at that venue is 46,168, also for a Sydney v Geelong game in 1997.


The Swans share a long and storied rivalry with St Kilda that dates back to the days when South Melbourne played at Lake Oval on the other side of Melbourne's Albert Park, not far from St Kilda's old home ground at Junction Oval. To this day the Swans and the Saints play for the Lake Trophy every year during the home-and-away season.

The Swans also share a rivalry with the Brisbane Lions, a rivalry that is part of the ongoing rivalry between the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland that stretches across footy codes and politics. 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 rugby league territory. However the real prize at stake is the pride of their adopted states, and the match between these two sides when played in Sydney is considered a "blockbuster", which means that the match is played at Telstra Stadium rather than the SCG.

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 -- defeated West Coast 8.10 (58) to 7.12 (54); first flag for a New South Wales team


  • 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 (76); match is legendary for the brutal violence that earned the Swans the moniker "Blood-Soaked Angels"
  • 1996 -- defeated by the Kangaroos 19.17 (131) to 13.10 (88); first grand final appearance in 50 years

Honor Roll

Year Posn Coach Captain Best & Fairest Leading goalkicker (goals)
1949 10 Jack Hale Bert Lucas Ron Clegg Ray Jones (27)
1950 11 Gordon Lane Gordon Lane Billy Williams Gordon Lane (47)
1951 8 Gordon Lane Gordon Lane Ron Clegg Billy 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 Ron Kingston (48)
1966 8 Bob Skilton Bob Skilton Max Papley Austin Robertson (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 Ackerley John Roberts (67)
1981 9 Ian Stewart Barry Round Barry Round John Roberts (51)
19821 7 Rick Quade Barry Round David Ackerley 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 Norey 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 Paul Kelly 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 -- Paul Roos TBA TBD TBD

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).

Brownlow Medal winners:

South Melbourne


Team of the Century

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

Template:Aussie rules team

2005 Finals

Main article: 2005 AFL Finals Series

Template:Wikinews 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 outside Victoria.

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 this 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 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.

See Also

External links


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