Australian Football



AFL Membership Slogans 2013-2017

What do the clubs say they stand for?

Adelaide Crows
Flying away

Brisbane Lions
It's Alive!...Maybe

Carlton Blues
Swapping the silver spoons for the wooden spoons

Collingwood Magpies
Side-by-side in scandal

Essendon Bombers
The most hated of teams

Fremantle Dockers
Send in the clowns!

Geelong Cats
Good, even elite, until it really matters

Gold Coast Suns
Football or the beach? The beach it is!

Hawthorn Hawks
Not the coolest kid on the block

North Melbourne Kangaroos
From butchering shinbones to road kill

Melbourne Demons
Like Collingwood, they like white powder

Port Adelaide Power
Statistics matter and Port has 119 reasons not to forget history

Richmond Tigers
From eat'em alive to eat our own alive.

St Kilda Saints
Can't ever say Saints' fans are band wagoners

Sydney Swans
Blood is thicker than water

West Coast Eagles
The AFL equivalent of McDonalds

Western Bulldogs
On welfare and on the move

GWS Giants
A marketing disaster on a par with AFLX




Sydney Swans

Sydney Swans

Finding the M.E in team


There is a saying that a champion team will defeat a team of champions. It is a saying that has never really appealed to the Swans, especially the marketing department. Instead, the Swans have embraced the mantra that a champion, especially one that plays in the forward line, will bring the crowds and that is all that really matters.

Although the Swans are now a Sydney team, the club began its life as the South Melbourne Bloods. As the Bloods, the club built up one of the league's largest and most passionate supporter bases. In 1903 it was said that:

"South probably divide with Carlton the honour of the most strenuous and numerous following, and when they meet the barracking gets very wild and woolly."

In their nine years in the VFA, the Bloods won five premierships. They were a foundation club of the VFL and won premierships in 1909 and 1918. In the thirties, the club reached its zenith and won its third premiership in 1933. It was during this time that a decision was made to change the name from 'Bloods' to 'Swans'.

The name change wasn’t exactly great for building an intimating image nor was it great for marketing. Whereas Richmond could stage promotional events such as sending players to feed tigers at the zoo, and Essendon could have its players pose for a photo in front of a stealth bomber, South Melbourne/Sydney was never able to find emotional erectness by photographing its players feeding Swans at the park.

With their new softer connotations, a new culture began to bite and three successive grand final defeats followed. After the 1936 defeat, the Swans suffered decades of poor performances. For the next 45 years, they finished 8th or better only eight times. Their only final appearances were the 1945 grand final and the first semi-final in 1970.

The one ray of sunshine was that the name change seemed to coincide with the club producing a record number of Brownlow Medal winners. Between 1949 and 1980, it produced the Best and Fairest winner an amazing 8 times.

By the 1980s, the combination of poor performances and a name that didn't seem to be inspiring a new generation of followers had the Swans facing extinction. In 1982, the club moved to Sydney; believing it would ensure its viability for years to come. Both on and off the field, the Swans struggled, but it did produce the Brownlow Medal winner a further 6 times to become the all time leader in the Brownlow Medal stakes. With 14 Brownload Medals, Swans players have taken home the highest individual accolade almost twice as many times as those from Essendon and more than three times as many as from Carlton – the two clubs that have won the most premierships.

The Swans' time in Sydney could be characterised with an obsession with full forwards to the detriment of overall team success. The first came in the form of a young Warrick Capper. Aside from his spectacular marks, Capper endeared himself to the crowd with long hair and an intellectual mastery that had his resembling the lead singer of an 80s glam rock band.  This potential was later realized when he was cast as a brain dead prisoner in the 93 movie, The Fortress.

Unfortunately, Capper was later poached by the Gold Coast based Brisbane Bears in the hope he could weave his magic on the Gold Coast the same way he did in Sydney (he couldn’t). Without their star full forward, Sydney siders couldn’t see the point of football and the SCG emptied once more.

In 1995, the Swans went for a different type of full forward in the form of Tony Lockett; one of the toughest and dirtiest players of the modern era. Prior to being recruited, Lockett had a particularly hostile relationship with Sydney. The hostility started in 1993 when Swans player persuaded a pig farmer to smuggle a piglet into the SCG with Lockett’s nickname of Plugga written on the side. Although not at the ground, Lockett was watching on TV and vowed to make the Swans pay. The following year, he put an elbow into the nose of Swan’s defender Peter Caven who was bravely running back with eyes on the ball. Caven’s nose was smashed and he missed 12 weeks of football. While Caven was being carted off to hospital, Lockett went on to kick 11 goals as the Saint’s made up a 51 point deficit at ¾ time. (Caven would get some sort of revenge when he would later go on TV to smash a Lockett effigy with a baseball bat.) Ironically, the following year Caven and Lockett were team mates.

Despite being a loner and somewhat offside with his team mates, Lockett proved to be a huge drawcard as he went on to break the league’s all time goal kicking record. He also inspired the song,  "There's only one Tony Lockett" 


After Lockett's retirement, new coach Paul Roos introduced a "no dickheads" policy in the hope that a team first ethic would take the Swans to the elusive premiership. In addition, the Swans privately referred to themselves as Bloods and developed a code of conduct for what the Bloods stood for. As journalist Peter Lalor wrote in 2005:

"The Sydney crowd may barrack for the outfit named after a graceful white bird, but the players who take on the Brisbane Lions on Sunday know themselves and see themselves as 'The Bloods'. They are blood brothers, who abide by blood rules - a code of honour and a statement of intent drawn up in 2003 to fight perceptions of the easy-beat pretty-boys who were referred to, sneeringly, as 'the Swannies' by teams who operate under more aggressive monikers such as the Bombers, Eagles, Power, Crows and, significantly this week, the Lions."

While the Bloods' culture was great for team identity, it lacked a public face to win over the crowds. For this face, the Swans went hunting for another criminal style bad boy to personify its image. This came in the form of Big Bad Bustling Barry Hall, (or Bazza for short.) Like Lockett, Bazza pulled in the fans and in 2005, helped the Swans win their first premiership in over 70 years. Once he retired, however, crowds fell away once more. Not even a second Sydney premiership in 2012 could give the club confidence that fans would stay in the absence of a star full forewad.

To solve the problem, in 2013, the marketing department broke the fabled "no dickheads" policy to recruit Adelaide’s Kurt Tippet, who was a classic dickhead in the sense he was always out for himself. At Adelaide, Tippet had negotiated to have his much of his salary paid outside of the salary cap because it was so high above his worth that it broke the Crows' renumeration model. Furthermore, for his last contract, he had a secret clause inserted that required he be traded to the club of his choice once the contract was complete. This reduced the Crows power to broker a fair trade. Although appreciating Tippet was a dick, the Swans just saw a full foreward they could get on the cheap. It was a decision that ultimately resulted in Sydney suffering a trade ban for two years. Furthermore, after allegedly being told he needed to work harder to get a game, Tippet decided to "retire due to injury" in 2017. Despite retiring, the Swans had to keep paying out Tippet's 7 figure contract until 2019.

With Tippet proving to be nothing but a soft ruckman that would go foreward, in 2014, the marketing department targeted Lance Franklin on a ridiculous 9 year deal that would see him on an income of $1 million a year as a 36-year-old. The recruitment resulted in the AFL stripping the Swans of their Cost of Living Allowance that was designed to compensate players for living in a city with a higher cost of living. Furthermore, a lack of salary cap space forced the club to lose players, including future Brownlow Medal winner Tom Mitchell.

 Once more, the a glamour full forward proved successful in pulling in the fans even though he did little to bring home a premiership. For the Swans, none of that mattered because in Sydney, the individual is always more important than the team.

Roy Morgan research

Sydney Swans supporters are:

2001 when compared to other Australians

  • 23% more likely than average to be male;
  • 36% more likely than the average to have eaten at Pizza Hut in the last four weeks;
  • 22% more likely to say the Government is doing a good job running the country;
  • 15% more likely to say TV advertising often gives them something to talk about.

2004 when compared to other AFL supporters

  • Made up of 88% New South Welshmen
  • 16% more likely to be the top AB Socio-Economic Quintile
  • 14% more likely to earn $70,000 or more per annum
  • 28% more likely to have used the TAB to place a bet
  • 26% more likely to love doing as many sports as possible
  • 23% more likely to believe that a percentage of everyone's income should go to charity
  • 78% more likely to have gone to an RSL Leagues or other club

2006 when compared to other AFL supporters

  • Made up of 87% New South Welshmen
  • 20% more likely to be a manager 

    Club song sydney swans theme song

    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.


    The Swans don't have many rivalries. A cynic may argue that this is because the Swan's fans are such a transient bunch, every year starts afresh. But contrary to perception, there are fans who cheer year-in year-out and there are some teams which are more hated the others. 

    Nth Melbourne Kangaroos- In theory, the Swans should have a strong rivalry with Nth Melbourne. The Kangaroos defeated the Swans in the 96 Grand Final. In the 98 and 99 seasons, Nth played five "home" games in Sydney; trying to bludge off the Swans good work in raising the profile of the AFL in Sydney.

    In their time in Sydney, the Kangaroos damaged the image of the code and so forced the Swans to once more play in half empty stadiums. So annoyed, the Swans even promoted one game with a "boo a roo" campaign. However, it seems that Swans fans don't hate the Roos for one SCG match at the height of the feud only drew 14,000 spectators. 

    Essendon Bombers - Perhaps the only genuine bottom-up rival is with Essendon. The Swans beat the Bombers by a point in the 96 preliminary final and the two clubs usually have very close games. The two clubs also have a middleclass supporter base thus the 'sameness' that makes for good jeering. Unlike Collingwood, Essendon games don't need massive promotion to draw a crowd in Sydney.  

    Carlton Blues - In the late eighties, matches against Carlton were eagerly anticipated in Sydney. Perhaps it was due to Carlton's then yuppy image which likewise appealed to the club chardonnay of Sydney fans.

    Sydney Swans jokes

    1) It was the day of the Grand Final when the officials took a call from the gatekeeper. "There are two life members of the Swans and they have lost their tickets." "Throw them out!!!" said the executive. "Whoever heard of the Swans having life members. "

    2) On a crowded train going to the SCG, a fan decked out in red and white colours proudly had a large Swan sitting on his lap. Sitting directly opposite, at face level with the Swan, was an old codger in red and black colours. " They won't let you take a pig into the SCG you know" he said loudly. "Its not a pig, its a Swan,  ya dickhead" said the fan in the red and white colours. "I wasn't talking to you" replied the old codger.

    3) "Almost a touch of synchronised swimming about the Swans..... minus the peg..."


  • Tony Lockett - A most unswanlike full-forward. When he played for St Kilda, Lockett exposed the nose catilage of a Sydney player and gave an up-yours to the SCG crowd. Was also the target of a joke when Sydney fans wrote "Lockett" on a pig and released it onto the ground. Later he was traded to Sydney and became the crowd's darling.
  • Paul Kelly - Barrel chested midfielder with a ton of courage that inspired the SCG banners 'Kelly Country.'
  • Warrick Caper - High flying pretty boy with a terrible hair style modelled after an 80s glamour rock band. A historical skeleton in the closet that everyone hopes will fade into history, but sadly, just wont go away.
  • Troy Luff - Fluffy Luffy as he was affectionately known, didn't have the type of name that strikes fear into the hearts of opponents. Delisted four times but never gave up and in one year, finished the season as the league's premier center half-forward.
  • Darren Cresswell - A semi-walking example of all the injuries that can suffered by a football player. On one occasion, television footage showed him in agony as he knocked his dislocated kneecap back into position. Was subsequently told that straightening his leg would have done a better job.
  • Dale Lewis - Mop of hair made him a Tom Baker Dr Who look-a-like.
  • Boby Skilton - An old South Melbourne player who never played on the SCG, never did training on a Sydney beach and was never cheered on by a Sydney crowd. Even so, the Sydney marketing department tells the Sydney fans that Skilton is their icon.




Brisbane Broncos

Canberra Raiders

Canterbury Bulldogs

Cronulla Sharks

Gold Coast Titans

Manly Sea Eagles

Melbourne Storm

Newcastle Knights

Nth Queensland Cowboys

New Zealand Warriors

Parramatta Eels

Penrith Panthers

South Sydney Rabbitohs

St George Dragons

Sydney City Roosters

Wests Tigers



Team names for Australian sports clubs

The mystery of AFL's invention

Why does Australia have two codes of rugby?

Why kind of country has four codes of "football"?

Why aren't American sports more popular in Australia?