Sydney Swans young-gun Errol Gulden has capped off a remarkable 2023 campaign, winning his first Bob Skilton Medal as Sydney Swans Club Champion.

The 21-year-old topped the count ahead of defender Nick Blakey, and midfielder James Rowbottom, who finished second and third respectively.

The QBE Sydney Swans Academy athlete took his game to new heights in 2023, averaging 27 disposals, five tackles and one-goal per game in a display of on-field heroics that inspired his team and fans alike.

Gulden’s standout season was also recognised with his first All-Australian blazer and a fourth-place finish in the Brownlow Medal –in which he polled more times than any player in club history.


Gulden was presented with the Club Champion Medal by Sydney Swans Hall of Famer John Heriot and Bob Skilton’s granddaughter Rebecca Skilton. In addition, he was presented with the Carey Bunton Medal as the best AFL player from New South Wales by former Sydney Swans chairman Richard Colless.

Sydney’s Executive GM-Football, Charlie Gardiner, said Gulden is well-deserving of the accolades.

“Errol had an extraordinary season. For a third-year player to do what he did was remarkable. He works extremely hard and gives everything each time he runs out in the red and white, it’s testament to his hard work and attitude,” Gardiner said.

“On behalf of everyone at the club I congratulate Errol on being named our 2023 Club Champion. He is a deserving Bob Skilton Medallist and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for him.”


Nick Blakey finished runner-up to claim the Adam Goodes Trophy. The 23-year-old enjoyed a strong season averaging 20.5 disposals and clocking almost 400 metres-gained per game. Blakey, affectionately known as ‘The Lizard,’ was also rewarded for his efforts earning selection for a second-consecutive year in the All-Australian squad of 40.

The 2023 season also saw the exciting defender commit his future to the club, inking a seven-year contract extension which will keep him in the red and white until at least 2031.

James Rowbottom takes home the Peter Bedford Trophy after finishing third. The tough midfielder tackled his way into the club’s record books with 176 tackles – the most in a season ahead of Brett Kirk’s record set in 2009. Priding himself on his defensive efforts, Rowbottom averaged seven tackles a game amongst a thriving young midfield.


The finishing order for the 2023 Bob Skilton Medal was as follows:

  1. Errol Gulden – 738 votes
  2. Nick Blakey – 481 votes
  3. James Rowbottom – 471 votes
  4. Luke Parker – 456 votes
  5. Chad Warner – 453 votes
  6. Oliver Florent – 448 votes
  7. Jake Lloyd – 430 votes
  8. Callum Mills – 426 votes
  9. Tom Papley – 411 votes
  10. Harry Cunningham – 392 votes

Other award winners on the night include:

Paul Kelly Player's Player: Errol Gulden
A popular member among the team, Errol’s performance in 2023 was outstanding, voted by his teammates as the Paul Kelly Player’s Player. Gulden sets very high standards for himself and is cementing himself as a key leader amongst a young midfield.

Barry Round Best Clubman Award: Harry Cunningham
Harry is as selfless as they come with a team-first attitude always. He finished in the top 10 of the Bob Skilton Medal in his 12th season in the red and white. Harry played in all of Sydney’s 24 matches in 2023, highlighting his consistency and resilience. 

Dennis Carrol Award, Most Improved: Hayden McLean
Young key forward Hayden McLean has gone from strength to strength in 2023. In his fifth season at the Sydney Swans, McLean enjoyed 22 games in 2023, which included goal hauls of three against West Coast and four against GWS, before finishing the season with a massive 12 marks against Carlton in Sydney’s preliminary final. McLean’s season also saw the 24-year-old commit to the club for another four years, keeping him in the red and white until the end of 2027.


Rising Star Award: Angus Sheldrick
Angus Sheldrick takes out Sydney’s Rising Star Award after a dominant performance in the first half of the season before injury cruelly cut his year short. Sheldrick’s highlight of 2023 came in Sydney’s Round 15, 171-point demolition of West Coast that saw the inside midfielder gather 29 disposals and a goal. Taken at pick 18 in 2021 draft, the 19-year-old has already shown plenty of promise in his nine appearances at the top level.

VFL Player of the Year: Corey Warner
Warner enjoyed a strong season in the VFL side’s midfield averaging six inside 50s, and 22 disposals per game. Warner’s efforts earned him his debut at the top level in Round 5 against Richmond, going on to finish the year with three senior appearances.

VFL Squad Player of the Year: Jake Bartholomaeus
Jake Bartholomaeus was consistent with his performances in 2023, with the young forward developing into a quality player at VFL level. 

Note: Club Champion votes are awarded by Sydney Swans coaching staff. A player can be awarded a maximum of 50 votes per game, and coaches can allocate up to 10 votes for as many or as few players as they deem appropriate, per match.