At the start of 2016 most people were writing the Swans off after losing more than 1000 games of experience and having one of the youngest lists in the competition.

Fast forward 12 months and you can reflect on a very positive year for the red and white with plenty of great milestones, moments and celebrations along the way.

We reflect on the highs and lows of 2016 in our Year in Review series in the lead up to New Year.

AJ running again after 906 days
It was a moment that would warm the heart of footy fans everywhere. Alex Johnson, one of the most injury-cruelled players in the game, stepped foot on the SCG on September 7 to run his first full lap in over three years. The 24-year-old, who last played in the Sydney Swans' 2012 Premiership, has had a torrid time getting back to full fitness after first rupturing his ACL during a pre-season game the following year. After an initial 12-month rehab, Johnson played in a reserves match in 2014 only to re-rupture the same knee. He's had multiple setbacks and complications since due to infection, resulting in five knee reconstructions overall and countless more operations in an ongoing effort to get it back to square one. His fifth - and hopefully last - reconstruction came in June earlier this season, a procedure labelled an overwhelming success so far.

Sydney Derby goes to new levels
The rivalry between the Swans and the Giants went to an all new level in 2016 as both clubs finished inside the top four. On the first meeting, it was the Swans who showed they still had the class to get over the line with a comfortable 25 point win at the SCG. The Giants took out the second home and away meeting at Spotless Stadium in a sign to the football world that they would be a force to fear. The final Sydney Derby of the year saw the biggest AFL match in Sydney ever as the cross-town rivals faced off against each other in a Qualifying Final at ANZ Stadium.

Record number of All Australians
The Swans dominated a new-look All Australian team, suppling almost a quarter of the players named in the team. Lance Franklin, Dane Rampe, Josh Kennedy, Dan Hannebery and Luke Parker were all named in the 2016 All Australian side. It was a debut All Australian appearance for Rampe and Parker while Franklin made his sixth All Australian side and second since joining the Swans three years ago.

New guard take over
After having co-captain’s since the 2005 season the decision was made that a new direction would be taken in 2017. Co-captain’s Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh decided to stand down from their roles paving the way for a new leadership structure which would see the return of a sole captain. The man appointed to that positon was star on baller Josh Kennedy. As the new guard of leaders take over Kennedy will be supported by Dan Hannebery, Luke Parker and Dane Rampe as vice captains.