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10 reasons we love Swanny


We’re unlikely to ever see a pocket profile in the AFL Record as funny as the one Swan put together last year.

Listing The Hangar, Essendon’s footy show as his favourite football TV show was one of many highlights.


In many ways, Swan looks like a footy player from another era.

Most midfields are now littered with athletes who stand above 190cm and can run all day – and while Swan has always been able to cover the ground well, he’s always looked like a footballer, rather than an athlete playing footy.

His running gait has been described as a duck-like waddle, and the shape of his body has attracted plenty of attention over the journey.

But the famous number 36 has always laughed off any criticism, and the fact he looks more like a local footy player than a calendar model has made him more likable and relatable to the average footy punter.


He’s a big-game player, and there’s no bigger occasion on the home and away calendar than Anzac Day.

In 2012 and 2014, Swan took home the Anzac Medal as best afield.

The highlight of his 2012 performance was a unique goal celebration – a cheeky belly rub, aimed at those in the media who had suggested Swan was overweight.

The finest moment of his 2014 season, a year which he modestly described as “putrid”, despite averaging almost 25 disposals per game, was this goal from the pocket.


Has the game ever seen a ball magnet quite like him?

Swan has averaged 26.84 possessions per game throughout his 249-game career, more than Gary Ablett (25.01), Chris Judd (22.87), Joel Selwood (25.19), Scott Pendlebury (25.94), Nat Fyfe (24.64), Matt Priddis (26.01), Sam Mitchell (25.83), Robert Harvey (25.21) and just about anyone else you can think of – including his coach, Nathan Buckley (24.6).

The only player we could think of with a higher average was Greg Williams (26.88), who edged in front by a minute margin, .04 of a possession per match.

But Swan has always put the team first. After collecting 49 possessions in Collingwood’s loss to Hawthorn in 2012, Swan spoke only about the team.

“We got smashed in all the key areas that we focus on as a midfield, so it doesn’t matter if I have 51 or one,” he said.

“We lost, so I’d give them all back to win.”


The AFL has never seen a player with more ink than the Collingwood champ.

Like them or hate them, he’s always been easy to spot on the footy field.

And who could forget that time in 2013 where he tricked his teammates and coaches into thinking they’d all been removed, to raise money for charity?

6) 2013  was his fifth consecutive all-australian season

The 31-year-old has never taken himself too seriously, and whilst this is part of his charm, it’s also made it fairly easy to forget how good he’s been.

Swan was named in the All-Australian team five years running between 2009 and 2013.

Asked by Before The Game what it meant to be a five-time All-Australian, Swan replied, “it means a bonus in my contract, I s’pose.”


Though media appearances have been fairly scarce throughout much of Swan’s career, he’s been one of the best in terms of bringing fans into his world via social media.

These pictures of his wrist surgery, which aren’t for the squeamish, are one of the best examples of that.

8) his Brownlow record

Swan’s Brownlow Medal experiences have been fairly unusual.

In 2007, Swan polled far better than many expected, eventually finishing fifth. In some respects, it was lucky he didn’t win it – he was thought to be such a long-shot that he didn’t even attend the event. While the other vote-getters were sitting in tuxedos at Crown, Swan was donning a spider-man costume, during Collingwood’s Mad Monday celebrations.

In 2010, Swan was the hot favourite to take home Charlie – but Carlton’s Chris Judd won his second. A year later, when Judd entered the count favourite, Swan had his turn.

AFL 2011 Media - Brownlow Medal

In a record-breaking season, Swan polled 34 votes – four more than any player in the game’s history in standard voting years.

As you’d expect, his acceptance speech was highly entertaining, with a dig at his sister one of the highlights.

“My sister doesn’t come to many games… and when she does, she’s in the bar most of the time. But thank you for coming.”

9) He’s the last surviving member of the rat-pack at collingwood

Though Swan’s best mates at Collingwood have moved on – Swan often jokes that he’s got nobody to talk to at the Westpac Centre – it’s clear the “rat pack” have had a huge influence on his career.

Swan paid tribute to a couple of its members this week, citing Ben Johnson and Chris Tarrant as two mates who taught him what it took to be an elite player.

“Johnno made me follow him on runs but he has never lifted a weight in his life but, if you know Chris Tarrant, he obviously has a fair rig and he put me in the weight room,” Swan explained.

“Without them two, there is no chance I would be here.”

10) He’s just the 12th magpie to reach the 250 mark

We’re hoping there are a few more great moments left in Swan before he hangs up the boots, but for now, this seems like the perfect way to end the list.

“Swanny’s been his own man through the whole time,” his coach, Nathan Buckley, reflected this week.

“People love him and admire him and get a good laugh at him, externally and internally. But he’s been one of the most consistent players that i’ve witnessed over the last ten years

“We’ve been very fortunate to have Dane Swan at the footy club.”