As a boy from Westmeadows, Dane Swan was considered a battler with limited ability after being picked deep in the 2001 National Draft, despite being the son of former VFA star, Billy Swan. Better-known for the art on his arms than his playing, Swan seemed destined to disappear into the football abyss with fitness concerns and off-field antics. His relaxed attitude to AFL, however, was reshaped by the strong leadership of coach Mick Malthouse and teammate, Ben Johnson. Under their guidance Dane Swan had a breakout season in 2006 as a rotational midfielder for 21 games, his first nine rounds seeing him average 26 disposals. The outside world began to pay attention to this emerging young midfielder with his uniquely dry humour and outlook on life as he began to dominate the competition.
2010 saw Swan on the Collingwood premiership team, earning him the 2011 Brownlow Medal with a vote of 34 – the highest score since the introduction of the 3-2-1 system. Named “unstoppable” and “untaggable” by commentators, this barrel-chested athlete is deceptively fast and more than capable of taking on taller players on the forward line while marking – making him one of the most consistent midfielders in AFL competition and a hard man to match.
Now in his 30s, Swan is proving to critics that he can still play at an elite level and that he can still surprise his fellow opponents on the field, with a staggering career average of 211 goals. Dane Swan has the well-earned respect of the AFL community for his deeds on the field, known for the both the quantity and quality of his playing, and has been honoured twice with the ANZAC medal – among many other AFL awards including the being the three-time Copeland Trophy winner and five-time All Australian – truly making him a beloved champion of AFL.