For a club which joined the VFL as South Melbourne in 1897 and became the Sydney Swans in 1982 you would expect the first 84 years to provide the highest number of game players in the Top 20 at the club, but this is not so. Of the current Top 20 game players of all time at the club, only 5 (25%) played all their football as players of South Melbourne, whilst 12 (60%) played all their career as Swans based in Sydney. The careers of the other 3 Top 20 players straddled the period before, and the period after the move to Sydney.
Whilst some of this discrepancy can be attributed to longer seasons and better injury management now days, there is no doubt that the continuing success that Sydney Swans has achieved in recent years has also been a contributing factor. Bob Skilton – a legend at the club – played in very few finals whereas the games record holder, Adam Goodes had many years of successful finals with the Sydney Swans.
Jarred McVeigh – who this year gave up the captaincy – is the leading current day player and hopefully this year will join Adam Goodes, Jude Bolton and Michael O’Laughlin as the only players at the club to have played 300 games.
Six other current players – headed up by Heath Grundy are included in the Top 100 games list, and many of this would be expected to move up the ranks as the year progresses.
Amongst the goal kickers, Lance Franklin is the leading current day player and is already tied for 20th place on the all time goal kicking list at the club. Another good year in front of goals should see him move rapidly higher, whilst Gary Rohan’s first goal for the year will see him in a tie for 100th place on the list where he will join another 7 current players.