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On This Day: Swans first win

Adam Goodes is not just the Swans games record-holder. He’s the ‘winningest’ Swan.

In a magnificent career that spanned 17 years from 1999-2015 the dual Brownlow Medallist played 372 games and had the joy and satisfaction of singing the club song in celebration 216 times.

“Cheer cheer, the red and the white …..”  It was almost like his private anthem.

Goodes ranks 16th in all-time AFL wins across the entire competition, headed by Hawthorn 400-gamer Michael Tuck (302), Richmond 400-gamer Kevin Bartlett (260) and Port Adelaide/Hawthorn utility Shaun Burgoyne (244).

And he sits on top of a Swans all-time win list that includes Jarrad McVeigh (201), Jude Bolton (184), Michael O’Loughlin (171), Ryan O’Keefe (164), Heath Grundy (160), Kieren Jack (157), Vic Belcher (151), Josh Kennedy (142), Ted Richards (141) in the top 10

The Swans win list started 122 years ago today, on 15 May 1897, when South Melbourne celebrated their first win in the old VFL competition.

Playing Carlton at Lake Oval in Round 2 of the League’s first season, they won 6.4 (40) to 5.6 (36) despite not scoring in the second quarter or fourth quarter.

The 20 players who shared top spot on the club win list at 1-0 were Bill Blackwood, Jack Deas, captain Bill Fraser, Dick Gibson, Tom Gilligan, Bert Howson, Charlie McCartney, Dinny McKay, Michael O’Gorman, Jim O’Hara, Mick Pleass, Harry Purdy, Fred Sigmont, Archie Swannie, Fred Waugh and Bert Windley, who had also played in Round 1, plus Fred O’Hara, Alb Thomas, Eddie Toms and George Williamson, who had replaced Dave Adamson, Jack Adamson, Allen Burns and Jack Southern after Round 1.

Fast forward 122 years just 35 of 1421 Swans who have played have had 100 wins or more in red and white.

After the top 10 and above 110 are Leo Barry (136), Nick Smith (135), Dan Hannebery (135), Brett Kirk (132), Tadhg Kennelly (120), Luke Parker (118), Mark Tandy (117), Nick Malceski (116), Herb Matthews (116), Jared Crouch (116).

Between 115 and 100 are Jim Cleary (110), Daryn Cresswell (110), Stuart Maxfield (110), Mark Browning (109), Jack Graham (108), Ben Mathews (108), Stevie Wright (106), Tony Morwood (106), Lewis Roberts-Thomson (106), Arthur Hiskins (105), Jim Caldwell (105), Rod Carter (103), Mark Bayes (101), Ron Clegg (100) and Len Mortimer (100).

Only 15 different players have held the Swans club record for most wins. And only three since 1914.

Eleven players topped the club’s win list with eight after the first VFL season in 1897: Blackwood, Fraser, Gilligan, Howson, McKay, O’Gorman, Frank and Jim O’Hara, McCartney, Pleass and Swannie.

McKay and Swannie never played again, Blackwood and McCartney never played for South again, and O’Gorman played one game with South in 1898 before 17 games with St Kilda in 1899-1900 – all losses.

By the end of 1898 the record-holding group was down to four players: Fraser, Gilligan, Frank O’Hara and Pleass – each had 16.

Pleass and Frank O’Hara, one of three brothers to play for the club, led the way with 24 by the end of the 19th century before Pleass took the record outright in in 1900.

Pleass, who at the start of 1902 had an aborted five-week stint as a field umpire, pushed it to 48 wins in Round 3 of 1904 but was overtaken in Round 17 of the same season by Howson, who pushed it out to 55 by the end of 1905.

In 1910 Jim Cameron, a 1909 premiership team member, went passed Howson and in 1911 he stretched the record to 71 before his retirement.

Next, the record fell to Len Mortimer, a full forward who was the leading VFA goal-kicker playing with Williamstown in 1905 before he topped the South goal-kicking in his first years with South from 1906.

Mortimer took it to 98 in 1913 before Vic Belcher was the first Swans player to post his 100th win in Round 16 1914. Mortimer topped the ton in Round 18 but didn’t play again and joined the collective Swans family in watching as Belcher pushed the record to 151 wins in 1920.

It stayed with Belcher for 97 years until Round 7 of 2011 when a 31-year-old Goodes, in his 282nd game, enjoyed his 152nd win over the Western Bulldogs in Canberra.

Goodes became the first Swans player to 200 wins in Round 22 of 2014 against the Bulldogs at what is now Marvel Stadium. It was his 347th game.

McVeigh posted his 200th win in Round 22 last year against the GWS Giants.

Behind Tuck, Bartlett and Burgoyne on the all-time AFL win list are Carlton’s Bruce Doull (238), North Melbourne’s Brent Harvey (235), Essendon’s Dustin Fletcher (234), Essendon’s Simon Madden (223), Hawthorn’s Leigh Matthews (220), Geelong’s Corey Enright (220), Carlton’s Craig Bradley (220) and Collingwood’s Gordon Coventry (220).

The record for the Swans biggest win has stood since 1919 when, in Round 12, they beat St Kilda at Lake Oval by 171 points, 29.15 (189) to 2.6 (18).

Amazingly, they had only six goal-kickers. Harold Robertson kicked seven in the last quarter for 14, Harry Brereton kicked six, Ernie Barber and Chris Laird three, Gladstone Power two and Tammy Hynes one. It was Belcher’s 144th win.

In summary, the progression of South Melbourne’s all-time win list is:

1897 – Bill Blackwood, Bill Fraser, Tom Gilligan, Bert Howson, Dinny McKay, Michael O’Gorman, Frank O’Hara, Jim O’Hara, Charlie McCartney, Mick Pleass, Archie Swannie (1-8)
1898 – Fraser, Gilligan, Frank O’Hara, Pleass (9-16)
1899 – Frank O’Hara, Pleass (17-24)
1900-1903 – Pleass (25-47)
1904-1910 – Howson (48-55)
1910-11 – Jim Cameron (56-71)
1912-13 – Len Mortimer (72-98)
1914-2011 – Vic Belcher (99-151)
2011-Current – Adam Goodes (152-216)