AFL 1997 – Twenty Years On: Sydney Swans (7th)

Just a year on from their 1996 near miss, were the Swans tiring of Rocket’s rev ups already?

Probably not (yet). Plugger was still a couple of years away from his wobbly 1300th major, Leaping Leo, Ben Mathews and Jared Crouch were still kids and John Stevens had just been plucked from the Ammos, one of that rare breed of mature age recruits.

The Swans were hard to knock off at home, but didn’t travel well, nine of their dozen wins were at the SCG. They exited the finals in the first week after a meek performance against the newly successful Bulldogs.

The list (thanks to the Football Record) contained several natives of NSW and quite a few also ended up at other clubs.

So Swans fans and others, what can you tell us about these blokes before, during and after this season?


List Management

AFL Debuts 1997: Troy Cook, Mark Kinnear, Paul Licuria, Ben Mathews, John Stevens

Players Kept Under Wraps 1997: Jared Crouch, Stuart Mangin, David McEwan, Brett O’Farrell, Gavin Rose, Will Sangster

Never Heard of Him: Gavin Rose

Delistings/Retirements end 1997: Dion Myles, Gavin Rose, Shannon Corcoran, Scott Direen.


You can review all of the AFL 1997 lists here

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. george smith says

    Gavin Rose was a highly rated ruckman from East Perth. He was actually pick 38 draft choice for Collingwood in 1989, part of that WAFL super draft that got most of the Weagles 1992 premiership team – Kemp Heady Matera, Evans and co. He was traded to the Swans without playing a game for Collingwood. He then played 55 games for the Swans as a ruckman,

  2. In 1997 the nexus with South Melbourne football club is long gone. The only links to the departed South Melbourne were in the corporate speak of what Guy Debord described as recuperation.

    Some interesting names in the city of the harbour bridge. I recall seeing Jason Mooney play with Geelong, prior to younger brother Cameron. Jason’s knees were gone by then. Daryn Creswell who found fame, but not fortune off the ground. Daniel McPherson from Ganmain the home of Frank Gumbleton, and the famous hay bale homes. Simon Garlick, the football adminstrator who left the tricolors just prior to their historic flag.

    Keep up the teams Swish. You’re bringing back some interesting events/memories.


  3. Chris Weaver says

    John Stevens – underwent open heart surgery as a teenager to repair Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (that’s the condition that caused Nathan Eagleton to collapse in a game in 1999). By the time Eagleton collapsed, it had become a reasonably simple medical procedure to perform. Not so easy for Stevens, who was left with a massive scar down his chest.

    This was the year Stefan Carey looked like he’d become a top player. Could play either end of the ground, but injuries (shoulders, from memory) cruelled him.

  4. Here we go again, Glen!

    Think you must be the only person who doesn’t connect the former Bloods with the current ones!

    Cheer cheer

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks George – Rose was about the only name that I couldn’t hark back to, despite his 55 games.

    Six more to come Glen, thanks for your interest.

    Can I please be on your table at the next footy trivia night Chris, thanks for your comments once again.

    Hey Jan, you don’t get off that easily. There must be something that stands out from 1997.

  6. Ben Footner says

    SA posters would know that Dale Lewis now hosts the drive time show on MMM with Andrew Jarman and does some commentary work game day also.

    Also tried his hand at coaching Norwood a few years back which didn’t end well for him unfortunately.

  7. Chris Weaver says

    Swish, this sort of trivia is right in my wheelhouse.

    I can’t remember where I put my running socks this morning, but by Christ I could earn my corn when it comes to obscure footballers.

  8. Yes, there are several things, Swish, but they’re more on a personal level:

    It was after our 1996 grand final loss that I declared: “I’m sick to death of not
    being able to go to the games each week and not being closer to the Swans.
    That’s it, we just have to sell up, leave Brisbane and move to Sydney.” We did in 1998.

    Many a Saturday afternoon in 1997 was spent driving to Tweed Heads to watch Sydney’s games on tele at the local RSL clubs – they were rarely shown in Brisbane – and we drove to Sydney on several occasions to the SCG and a few times to Melbourne, including our loss to the Bulldogs in the first week of finals.

    My favourite players of the time were Paul Kelly and Darren Creswell, and I’m always attracted to red-heads, such as Gavin Rose. I’m not sure why his photo doesn’t appear in the images of 1997 players you’ve attached.

    It was a disappointing end to our year, especially given we had almost miraculously gone from only eight wins in 1995 to 16 wins and top of the table in 1996. 1996 laid the foundation for what was to come: sustained success over the ensuing 20-year period.

    I couldn’t have chosen a better time to live in Sydney!

    Interesting to read others’ information on where the guys are now.


  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Ben – so is he competing against Fitzy?

    Ta Jan – only those players that took the field that season were shown, hence no Gavin Rose.

  10. I’ve no idea why but around the 1996 grand final Troy Luff developed a cult following among my group of footy mates. In the first half of that match, we were all convinced he was best on ground. He still holds some iconic appeal. I recently heard he’s still playing in Sydney. Thanks Swish.

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