Three basic statistics underline the magnitude of the Swans’ climb up the AFL ladder this season, stamping it as one of the very best in club history.

The jump from five wins in 2020 to 15 wins in 2021 is the club’s equal biggest all-time.

The jump from 16th on the ladder in 2020 to 6th in 2021 in the club’s second biggest all-time

And the percentage increase from 82.6 in 2020 to 119.9 in 2021 is the club’s fourth biggest all-time and the biggest since 1942.

While the cynics might argue win numbers are distorted by the fact that there were only 17 games due to Covid in 2020, and that the number of teams has jumped dramatically in the last 35 years, allowing more scope for a ladder climb, there can be no questioning the percentage numbers.

It is a simple for-and-against comparison year by year since South Melbourne were foundation members of the then VFL in 1897. The number of games and teams is irrelevant.

Only three times have the Swans had a bigger improvement in percentage from one year to the next. From 1908 to 1909 it improved by 67.5%. From 1903 to 1904 it increased by 53.5%. And from 1941 to 1942 it improved by 39.0%.

The only time the Swans have jumped higher on the ladder was 25 years ago when they went from 12th in 1995 to be minor premiers in 1996. Up 11 spots.

The only other time the club has improved by 10 wins was a further 10 years back in 1986, when they posted 16 wins to finish second on the 12-team home-and-away ladder after six wins saw them finish 10th in 1985.

To further underline the improvement of John Longmire’s young side this year, the Swans ranked No.1 in the League in each statistic - ladder position improvement, win count and percentage increase.

Also, in a season in which game time returned from the 16 minutes per quarter of the shortened 2020 Covid season to the normal 20 minutes per quarter in 2021, the Swans’ increase in points scored per game of 37.9 is ranked No.1 in the League. And the Swans’ increase in points against per game of 11.9 is ranked No.3 behind only the Western Bulldogs (7.4) and Melbourne (7.6).

Even minor premiers Melbourne cannot boast the same numbers. They climbed eight positions on the ladder, had eight more wins, and improved their percentage by 23.0%.

KEY STATISTICAL VARIATIONS - 2020-2021 - CLUB BY CLUB

Ladder

Finish

Club

%

W

D

L

Ave For

Ave Agst

+3

Adelaide

+17.6

+4

0

+1

+24.9

+14.1

-2

Brisbane

+8.4

+1

0

+4

+27.2

+16.9

-2

Carlton

-5.8

+1

0

+4

+19.5

+26.2

-9

Collingwood

-23.9

-3

-1

+9

+14.0

+30.8

+5

Essendon

+29.9

+5

-1

+1

+33.6

+11.7

+1

Fremantle

-7.2

+3

0

+2

+20.8

+28.6

+1

Geelong

-10.1

+4

0

+1

+11.3

+13.2

-2

Gold Coast

-13.8

+2

-1

+4

+6.4

+20.0

+3

GWS

+4.1

+3

+1

+1

+21.1

+18.6

+1

Hawthorn

+1.1

+2

+2

+1

+15.0

+16.7

+8

Melbourne

+23.0

+8

+1

-4

+23.3

+7.6

-1

NM

-0.9

+1

+1

+3

+15.8

+23.4

-1

Port Adel

-10.1

+3

0

2

+15.9

+16.7

-9

Richmond

-32.0

-3

0

8

12.5

29.5

-4

St Kilda

-24.7

0

0

+5

+6.6

+23.0

+10

Sydney

+37.3

+10

0

-5

+37.9

+11.9

-4

WC

-23.8

-2

0

+7

+15.2

+30.4

+2

WB

+26.1

+5

0

0

+25.8

+7.4

 

02:16 Mins
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Together, we're Red & White

To all of our Swans members and fans across the country, while we will be away from home throughout the 2021 finals series, if there's one thing we know for sure, it's that together, we're Red & White.

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Making the Swans’ achievements even more meritorious is the massive impact Covid has had on their match schedule. They played their last game at the SCG in Round 9 and have been on the road since 22 June.

They have played only eight games or 36% of games in their home state. With GWS, who played five games in Sydney and two games in Canberra, they have been most affected by Covid intrusions on their original fixture.

No other clubs played less than half their games in their home state, with Collingwood and Carlton topping the list at 77%, from Geelong and the Bulldogs at 73%.

The Swans, with six wins in NSW and Victoria and three in Queensland, had a 75% strike rate in Victoria that was fourth best in the League. Only Port Adelaide, who were unbeaten in eight visits, Melbourne (83%) and Geelong (81%) had a better record in Victoria.

The Swans also enjoyed a 75% strike rate in NSW and Queensland to compensate for 0-1 records in Perth and Adelaide.

Significantly, too, the Swans had only four players play every game – Luke Parker, Tom Papley, Ollie Florent and Jordan Dawson. Melbourne had 10 – Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca, Jake Lever, Angus Brayshaw, Jared Rivers, Kysaiah Pickett, Charlie Spargo, Alex Neal-Bullen and James Jordan.

The Swans made a total of 60 changes at selection to rank equal 5th highest behind GWS and West Coast (71), St.Kilda (62) and Richmond (61) and level with the Western Bulldogs (60). Melbourne made fewest changes with 30.