Young star Errol Gulden holds the spotlight this week as he joins the Carey-Bunton Medal honour board and the All-Australian team for 2023.

The Sydney wingman’s dominant season continued in rounds 23 and 24, picking up 19 out of a possible 20 coaches’ votes to jump to 88 votes for the season, a clear 33 ahead of runner-up Taylor Walker, to be named the best NSW player in the AFL.

Gulden joins Geelong’s Finley farmer Tom Hawkins (2020), then GWS, now Richmond midfielder from Leeton Jacob Hopper (2021) and last year’s winner, Swans teammate Callum Mills from Mosman as a Carey-Bunton Medallist.

It’s a fitting reward for the loyal East Sydneysider, once Maroubra Saint now Sydney Swan.

“It’s obviously a massive honour. I don’t necessarily play football for things like this, but it’s a nice acknowledgement of the hard work and stuff that I’ve put in for the last few years and to have my name along some of those names is a massive honour” Gulden said.

The honours continued when he was named on the wing in the All-Australian side for 2023 at the AFL awards night, one of the youngest Swans to become an All-Australian at just 21-years-old.

His successful year has helped the Swans in their late surge to the finals, but was also built on the support of his long history and friendships with many of his teammates, eight of whom have also grown up in Sydney,

He played as a junior alongside and against Pennant Hills boys Braeden Campbell and Marc Sheather, while Mills, Nick Blakey, Dane Rampe, Sam Wicks and Lachlan McAndrew all also came from Sydney junior clubs, while Isaac Heeney is from just up the highway at Cardiff in the Hunter.

“We’ve known each other for a long time. Way before we got drafted, most of us have played a fair bit of footy together before,” Gulden said.

“These are some of the boys that I grew up playing footy with and against since we were 10, 11-years-old, to be running out there on the biggest stage week in-week out with those boys is really special.”


As well as time at the Maroubra Saints, his experience at the Sydney Swans Academy helped develop his footy.

“Without the academy I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now, I’m extremely grateful for all my coaches at the academy and the opportunities they gave me,” he said.

Playing a grand final, albeit a disastrous loss for the Swans, in his second year of senior footy was a highlight of his young career, but he’ll always cherish being on the SCG when Buddy Franklin kicked his 1000th goal and the frenzied aftermath.

“The Bud 1000 game, that was something I will never forget. It was unbelievable to be a part of that and be on the field when he kicked it,” he said.

More great moments are hopefully in sight for the Swans in the 2023 finals.

“We’re going to go in and give it a red-hot crack. Obviously, we’ve secured finals now which is good because we did pretty well to make finals after a slow start to the year,” Gulden said.


The Swans will head into finals period equipped with a prospering Carey-Bunton Medallist and All-Australian in their midfield.

Walker was also named in his first All-Australian team after his age-defying season. Adelaide’s 33-year-old North Broken Hill boy kicked 76 goals for the season, only two behind Coleman Medallist Charlie Curnow, but enough to claim the Bill Mohr Medal as the leading goalkicker from NSW.

And he earned nine coaches’ votes in the Crows’ round 24 win over West Coast in which he kicked nine goals to move to 54 votes for the year. East Sydney junior Blakey’s nine votes in round 23 took him to 38 votes and third place in the Carey-Bunton Medal from Gold Coast’s ruckman from St Ives Jarrad Witts who finished on 30 votes.

88    Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans / UNSW-Eastern Suburbs)    
55    Taylor Walker (Adelaide/ North Broken Hill)     
38    Nick Blakey (Sydney Swans/ UNSW-Eastern Suburbs)                                                                          

76    Taylor Walker (Adelaide/ North Broken Hill)     
49    Tom Hawkins (Geelong/ Finley) 
47    Luke Breust (Hawthorn / Temora)