As the 2015 year comes to a close we take a closer look at some of the big stories that occurred throughout the 2015 season.
Heeney dazzles on debut…
Has there been a more impressive debut from a first-year draftee than Isaac Heeney’s round one performance against Essendon?
On top of collecting a composed 17 disposals in slippery conditions at ANZ Stadium, the 18-year-old delivered the knockout blow which sealed the emphatic come-from-behind victory.
Trailing by 34 points at three-quarter-time, the Swans piled on seven unanswered goals before Lance Franklin put the hosts in front.
The Swans again pushed forward with Heeney pouncing on a loose ball and snapping truly on his left foot.
It was the Swans’ biggest comeback from three-quarter time in history and arguably the best showing from a red and white debutant for some time.
“He’s just about experienced all the emotions of AFL football in one game,” coach John Longmire said of Heeney post-match.
“He’s hard at the ball, competes hard and runs hard…he was good tonight.”
Goodes, a warrior to the end…
It started with a dance.
A war dance, in fact, to celebrate Indigenous Round.
Adam Goodes took off towards the boundary line after kicking a goal against Carlton.
Goodes’ celebration divided the AFL community and attracted rounds of booing from opposition supporters at games thereafter.
Goodes took a week off to help deal with the disappointment, triggering an outpouring of support from players and supporters.
The Swans’ Round 18 win against Adelaide was made even more special with the crowd standing and applauding the three-time Brownlow Medallist at the seventh minute of the third quarter as a show of support.
Goodes courageously returned and gave it his all as the sun set on his glittering career.
Lance Franklin withdrawals…
The AFL community was left stunned as Lance Franklin took time away from football, on the eve of finals, to help deal with mental health issues.
Having already dealt with a back-related injury, which sidelined the three-time Coleman Medallist for … matches, ‘Buddy’ made the courageous decision to put his hand up and reveal his battle to the world.
A whirlwind of publicity followed then weeks of waiting and wondering with no one truly knowing whether the star forward would be back to back to his brilliant best in 2016.
Then, confirmation from the man himself: “
After three months off, Franklin returned for day one of pre-season training with next season very much in his sights.
The Swans, put simply, couldn’t take a trick towards the end of season 2015.
On a horror night against Collingwood, Luke Parker’s ankle was caught in a tackle and broken in three places.
The injury sidelined the reigning Club Champion for the rest of the season and finals series.
On the same night, Gary Rohan injured his knee only after just making it back from a recovery from a hamstring strain.
The Swans’ depth would be tested in the wake of Dan Robinson going down with a broken collarbone in the NEAFL curtain-raiser.
Then the hits just kept coming with Kieren Jack hurting his posterior cruciate ligament in Round 23, ruling him out for rest of the season, while Nick Smith’s hamstring didn’t fare much better.
Add to that Lance Franklin’s sidelining and Sam Reid’s torn hamstring against Fremantle in the qualifying final.
The Swans were the walking wounded going into the follow week’s semi-final against North Melbourne.
Callum mills became the first born and bred NSW player to be drafted in the top three after the Swans’ selected the 18-year-old in this year’s National Draft.
The QBE Sydney Swans Academy product was touted as one of the best midfielders in this year’s talent pool and attracted the interest of rival clubs before Sydney – as part of the new bidding system – used points to snap him up.
Mills was presented with his jumper on stage at the Adelaide Convention Centre by coach John Longmire before joining the rest of the top draftees for a photo shoot.
His dream of becoming a professional AFL footballer had been realised.
Mills has already made an impressionable start and will be pushing for a spot come Round 1 against Collingwood.
At the end of season 2015, the Swans said goodbye to three premiership heroes and three genuine favourites of the red and white family.
Adam Goodes called time following the semi-final loss against North Melbourne. No fanfare, no fuss.
Much had weighed the 372-gamer for some time, the decision not coming lightly as he announced the decision to teammates and support staff in the rooms post-match.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, including Michael O’Loughlin’s who stood arm in arm with his close mate as the realisation hit home.
Just moments before Rhyce Shaw received a guard an honour from North Melbourne players as the Swans walked off the ground.
The defender announced his retirement weeks earlier to take the attention of his farewell and to focus on the football.
The 34-year-old played his heart out in his 237th and final game showing his renowned run and dash which made him a beloved player for the past several years.
Another loved player to hang up the boots this season was Mike Pyke.
After 110 matches and a premiership, the proud Canadian took to social media to announce the news, posting a photo of his boots hung up in his locker to his 8,000 twitter followers.