Dane Swan is a retired AFL footballer who played his whole career for Collingwood Football Club.
Dane Swan is a retired AFL footballer who played his whole career for Collingwood Football Club. A prolific ball-winner, specifically in his later career, Swan was the season leader in the AFL in total disposals on four occasions and in total kicks on five occasions. Swan accumulated an average of 26.85 disposals per game during his AFL career, which at the time of his retirement was the second highest average of all time. He was a strongly built midfielder who was dangerous if released to half forward! Dane had an ability to out-sprint his opponents. Which in turn made him Collingwood’s most consistent player at the time.
Life Before Football
Born in Melbourne to Billy and Deidre Swan 25 February, 1984. His father, Billy Swan was a footballer in the VFA. He won the J. J. Liston Trophy twice and playing a league record 302 games with Port Melbourne and Williamstown from 1976–1993.
Growing up playing junior football for the Westmeadows Football Club in the Essendon District Football League. Before playing his under 18 football with the Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup. Swan’s performances at the Calder Cannons were ordinary and he was perceived, by some recruiters to be a ‘larrikin’. However Collingwood Football Club showed an interest in him, and rightly so as it turned out.
Early Football Career
The club went on to pick him with pick 58 in the 2001 AFL draft, but made his debut in 2003. He was made to wait until round 13 to play the first of 3 games that season, playing against Western Bulldogs. Round 16 he played against Richmond and Round 22 against Essedon but narrowly missed out on being picked for the finals. In his first 4 seasons, Swan played a total of 30 games playing some decent football but was reagrded by some as not outstanding.
In 2006 he had a break through, playing 21 games that season and came 6th in the Copeland Trophy voting. By 2007 he had made his way up to 4th in the Copeland Trophy voting. But, 2008 was his year to win the Copeland Trophy, averaging 25 disposals, 7 marks, 3 tackles and a goal per game. He only went on to improve every year being selected in the 2009 All-Australian team, as a half forward flanker, rather than his usual position as a midfielder.
On 6 September 2010, Dane Swan won the ‘AFL Players Association MVP Award‘ after a vote by the players. That year he was also elected as the ruck-rover for the All-Australian team. He had a very consistant season which made him an indispensable part of Collingwood’s fifteenth premiership. On 31 October in the International Rules Series he won the Jim Stynes Medal. Finally, concluding the season by becoming the fourth Collingwood player ever to win three consecutive Copeland Trophies.
Dane Swan – At His Best
Swan’s contract at Collingwood was due to expire at the end of 2011. With plenty of pre-season media speculation over a possible move to new AFL club. This was quickly corrected by Collingwood when they announced that Swan had signed a new three-year deal (until 2014). Swan started 2011 in the same good form as 2010. But, midway through the season, sustained a quad injury and his form deteriorated. Collingwood decided to send Swan, with a few team mates to a high altitude training camp in Arizona to potentially speed up their recoveries. The trip proved effective for Swan, which was evident in his following playing performances. He later won the 2011 Brownlow Medal with 34 votes. Setting a new record, at the time, for the most votes polled in a count under the 3-2-1 system.
In the 2012 annual Anzac Day clash, Swan won his first Anzac Day medal as best on ground after his performance during the game against Essedon. Swan missed two games midway through the season due to a hamstring injury. Returning for the Queen’s Birthday clash in Round 11 against Melbourne finishing with a game high 42 possessions. Strong performances over the following two months saw Swan rise in the Brownlow Medal betting. Unfortunatley, was later found to have broken a pledge, to abstain from drinking alcohol for the remainder of the season. He was suspended for two games as a result. Swan had over 40 disposals in six different games. Reaching a new career high of 49 against Hawthorn in round 17. Swan still finished fourth in the Brownlow Medal count and averaged more votes per game than anyone else in the top ten. He was named on the bench in the All-Australian team, his fourth selection in his career.
Beginning Of The End
After wrist surgery in the off season of 2014, Swan started the season slowly. But it didn’t take long for him to find his form again. 35 disposals and 11 marks against North Melbourne, and 26 disposals and 4 goals against Essendon earned him his second ANZAC medal. Putting behind him 2014, a year that Swan himself described as putrid, he returned to his best form in 2015. Averaging 29 disposals and 1 goal per game, as well as reaching the 250 game milestone. Swan played every game that year apart from round 23 against Essendon due to a knee injury he sustained the week before. Then in 2016 Swan was badly injured after landing awkwardly on his foot, breaking three bones. The injury ruled him out of the rest of the season, and in August 2016 he announced his immediate retirement from the AFL.