James Rowbottom will go into the AFL finals having already posted a Sydney Swans record for most tackles in a season.

Three tackles in Sunday’s Round 24 game against Melbourne gave him 171 for the season – one more than Brett Kirk’s record set in 2009.

He ranked fifth in the League through the home-and-away season behind Gold Coast’s Matt Rowell (190), Adelaide’s Rory Laird and Geelong’s Tom Atkins (185), and Western Bulldogs’ Marcus Bontempelli (172).

And he was Sydney’s No.1 tackler by a long way from Errol Gulden (116) and Luke Parker (110).

In 92 career games at 22, Rowbottom has 556 career tackles at a game average of 6.04 to sit 16th on Sydney’s all-time tackle list, which dates back to 1987.

It is a list headed by Jude Bolton (1490), Luke Parker (1434), Josh Kennedy (1433), Kieren Jack (1302), Brett Kirk (1278), Ryan O’Keefe (1075) and Jarrad McVeigh (1023).

But after 92 games Bolton, a 325-game champion who sits second on Sydney’s all-time games list, had registered just 231 tackles at an average of 2.51 – and was 24.

Bolton had only once topped six tackles in a game – he had a career-high at that point of nine tackles in his 77th game. Rowbottom had 12 tackles in his sixth game and has topped double-figures 12 times.

Rowbottom’s career-best of 13 tackles in a game (three times) is six short of Bolton’s club record of 19 in 2011 but only six players in club history have had more.

Next best is Parker’s 17 in 2016, Callum Mills’ 16 in 2022, Ryan O’Keefe’s 15 (twice) in 2012-13, Kirk’s 15 in 2010, Tom Mitchell’s 14 in 2016, Parker’s 14 in 2022, O’Keefe’s 14 (twice) in 2009-13 and Kirk’s 14 in 2009.


In other Sydney Swans statistical highlights from the home-and-away season:

Errol Gulden was Sydney’s leading possession-winner with 620 and, with an unassailable list, will be the club’s second-youngest leading possession winner since the introduction of statistics in 1965.

He will be 21 years 74 days at the year-by-year comparison date of 30 September – behind only Steve Wright when he topped the possession count for the first time in 1980 at 19 years 208 days.

Gulden ranked 17th on a League home-and-away list headed by Fremantle’s Caleb Serong (675) and Andrew Brayshaw (671), St Kilda’s Jack Sinclair (668), Richmond’s Tim Taranto (662), and GWS’ Stephen Coniglio (652).

Next best for the Swans was Parker (524), Jake Lloyd (508), Chad Warner (496), Nick Blakey (470), Ollie Florent (464) and Rowbottom (418).

Gulden will be just the 26th player to top the Sydney Swans possession list in 59 years of possession stats.

Darryn Cresswell, a six-time leading possession winner, has topped the count most often from Bob Skilton and Barry Mitchell (5), Peter Bedford, Mark Browning, Norm Goss, Paul Kelly, Brett Kirk, Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Jake Lloyd (3).

Distorting this is the fact that possession counts were only kept in six of Skilton’s 15 seasons.

Gulden is just the 14th Sydney Swans player since 1965 to top 600 possessions in a season.

He joins a list headed by Cresswell, Barry Mitchell, Parker and Lloyd, who can boast three 600-possession seasons, Kennedy, Jarrad McVeigh, Kieren Jack (2) and Dan Hannebery, Ryan O’Keefe, Greg Williams, Wayne Schwass, Tom Mitchell and Callum Mills (1).

Hannebery’s only leading possession winner season was his 802-possession campaign in 2016 – the club record for most possessions in a season. Only Hannebery, Kennedy and Tom Mitchell have topped 700 possessions in a season.

Parker’s 524 possessions through the 2023 home-and-away campaign is his ninth season of 500-plus. Only Kennedy (10) has more. And Lloyd’s 508 possessions this season represents the eighth consecutive year he has topped 500 (or the equivalent in the 2020 Covid season).

Tom Papley topped the Swans home-and-away goal-kicking with 37 despite missing the Round 24 game, and, with a seven-goal advantage over Isaac Heeney and Logan McDonald, is a short-priced favourite to finish at the top of the list.

It’s the third time Papley has been the club’s leading goal-kicker, which puts him among just 12 players to do so three times of more.


Lance Franklin retires a seven-time Swans leading goal-kicker, equal with Barry Hall and Len Mortimer, while Bob Pratt and Ted Johnson topped the goal-kicking six times, Warwick Capper and John Sudholz did so four times, and Austin Robertson Sr, Bob Skilton, Peter Bedford, Simon Minton-Connell, Adam Goodes and Papley have done so three times.

Papley also headed the Swans for goal assists with 19 from Parker and Gulden (15), Isaac Heeney (14) and Will Hayward (12). He was equal 17th on a League list behind Geelong’s Gryan Miers, who had 41 to break the Jason Akermanis home-and-away record of 39 set with Brisbane in 2004.

Gulden led the Sydney Swans for overall score involvements with 143 and was 21st in the League. Papley (139), Warner (135), Heeney (129), Parker (127) and Hayward (111) also topped 100.

Parker (127) headed Rowbottom (109) for most Sydney clearances. He ranked 15th in the League behind Brisbane’s Lachie Neale (187) and Gold Coast’s Matt Rowell (177), and Western Bulldogs Marcus Bontempelli (125).

Parker also topped the contested possession count with 249, from Rowbottom (238), Gulden (230) and Chad Warner (211). The co-captain was equal 20th in the League behind Bontempelli (332), Rowell (330) and Neale and Melbourne’s Christian Petracca (319).