Gerard Healy was inducted into the Swans Hall of Fame in 2009.

Gerard Healy
81 games
87 goals
Best & Fairest 1986, 1987, 1988
Brownlow Medal 1988
AFL Players Association MVP Award 1988
All Australian 1986, 1987, 1988
Swans Team of the Century
AFL Hall of Fame


As a six-year-old in Edithvale, Gerard Healy wandered across the road to watch the St Joseph's Under 11s train on the local oval. By the time he was seven, he got a game, and Healy finished his under-11 career, as the games record holder.

Healy recalled, "I remember watching a guy kick left-foot torpedoes, and I thought to myself, 'My goodness, that is just amazing.' That sort of thing inspired me to practice my skills, and we used to spend hours there kicking boomerangs through the goals, practising drop punts and even dropkicks back in those days."

Living near the beach fostered an active childhood, and Healy has always loved sport. In addition to football, cricket won his affection, and he also enjoyed tennis. Regular family holidays to Barwon Heads introduced him to a lifelong passion for surfing.

Healy enjoyed his formative football years, and when he was 15, he began to realise his dream of playing League footy was within reach. Selection in a Melbourne Football Club scholarship team exposed him to a higher level of play. At 16, he played senior footy with Edithvale Aspendale, winning a premiership with his local boyhood club.

In 1979, Healy joined Melbourne, excited by the challenge of VFL football. He debuted on a wing, opposing Footscray legend Doug Hawkins. The young midfielder made an early impression, and in his second season, Healy was selected in the Victorian state team. Sadly, he couldn't take part after injuring his knee in a car accident just days before the match.

In 1982, he returned to the Victorian team during a stellar season, kicking 77 goals to claim the Demons' leading goalkicker award. Two years later, he won their best and fairest award. In that 1984 off-season, he travelled to Ireland with the Australian team, and after spenng most of the '85 season as Melbourne captain, Healy's career came to a crossroads.

"I was prepared to stay at Melbourne, but I was really keen to do physiotherapy", Healy said. "The Swans came to me with an offer that wasn't much more than Melbourne's from a financial perspective, but they guaranteed me a spot in the physiotherapy course in Sydney."

"I always wanted to travel, and I found it exciting to move to a different city. The club was in its embryonic stages in Sydney, and I knew some guys playing at the Swans. So, I decided to take up the challenge of moving interstate because I thought it was an exciting offer, so it proved."

The competition's first venture into private ownership meant that a consortium primarily funded by Western Australian mining company Westeq had taken charge, with Dr Geoffrey Edelston acting as the group's public representative. Joining Healy at the Swans were fellow Bloods champion Greg Williams and VFL stars Merv Neagle, Bernard Toohey, David Bolton, Jim Edmond, Glenn Coleman, and new coach Tom Hafey.

When he arrived, Healy moved into Williams’ Cronulla home, and the pair developed a great understanding. In fact, a large contingent of Swans moved into the area, and Healy eventually purchased a beachside home in North Cronulla. He happily recalls the carpooled trips to Sydney Airport for away games, which regularly resulted in last-minute check-ins. The group enjoyed each other's company, whether playing footy, surfing or socialising.

"It was all a great adventure. Typically, a group of us would get up early and go for a run, followed by a swim or a surf. Then, I had to drive out to Lidcombe for lectures that started at 9am. They'd go until 4pm, and then I'd make the mad rush back to the Showgrounds for training. Combining study and footy was demanding, but I just found it really stimulating," Healy said.

Healy also made an immediate impact on the field. The new arrivals mixed well with their established Swans teammates, and displaying unwavering discipline and dedication, Healy relished the responsibility of driving the new-look Swans into premiership contention.

Greg Williams regards Healy as the best player he lined up with during his time in red and white. As the Swans surged towards second place on the VFL ladder, the midfield duo dominated, particularly in the confined spaces of the SCG. Earning renown as a ruck-rover with incredible ball-handling skills, agility, and football intelligence, Healy played his way into the 1986 All-Australian team. He also won the Swans' best and fairest in an exceptional all-round performance.

"I remember at the start of '86, no one really knew if we'd be any good, and many judges thought we'd miss the finals," Healy recalled. "Then we won our first six games, and suddenly, our salary cap became the biggest talking point in Melbourne, and Maurice Rioli, who also joined the Swans, never got to play for us. The Melbourne footy mafia wanted all the upside the Swans could provide them but none of the downside."

Despite qualifying in second place, the Swans were not afforded home finals and narrowly lost their two finals at the MCG. The 1987 season was almost a carbon copy. This time, the Swans finished third, but battered and bruised, they succumbed to Hawthorn and Healy's former team, Melbourne. Healy suffered a stress fracture injury against the Hawks, and his loss was sorely felt.

However, the '87 season gave the club and its supporters endless highlights. During an incredible three-week period, the Swans kicked 30 goals or more on the SCG. "It was a joy to play in that team, because it was such a bloody good team. I got to my ninth year of footy, and I'd never won more than three games in a row," Healy said.

"I got to Sydney, and footy had never been so much fun. It was just the greatest experience. We were winning 16 games a season; it was incredible. The crowds were coming to the SCG; Capper was jumping on blokes' shoulders every week, and we had great players everywhere. We all got better because of the blokes we were playing with."

Healy claimed his second Swans best and fairest in 1987, and the team's future looked bright. However, while the team was playing exhibition matches in North America, the stock market crashed, and funding provided by the private owners abruptly halted, derailing any plans for sustained success.

The juxtaposition of Healy's 1988 season taught him a great lesson in perseverance. A debilitating hernia injury meant he trained mainly in the pool, yet his individual performances outshone any rival that year. He claimed his third successive All-Australian jumper, a third successive Swans best and fairest, the VFL Players' Association Most Valuable Player award, and the coveted Brownlow Medal.

"Winning the Brownlow was a very emotional night because my wife Lisa had been living and teaching in Singapore, and she flew over, so it was great to have her there. It was an incredible honour, and I was lucky enough to win one," Healy recalled.

Healy played two more years in Sydney, with a chronic wrist injury bringing his impressive career to a conclusion at just 29. Possessing an uncanny ability to read the play, find the ball and use it well, he's universally regarded as one of the great onballers of his generation and a central figure in the rise of the Swans. Since playing, Healy has significantly contributed to Australian football as a highly-respected analyst and media personality, providing thoughtful insights over many years.

Healy's impact on the Sydney Swans is undeniable, highlighted by his selection in the Swans Team of the Century, his induction into the club's Hall of Fame, and his elevation to Bloods Champion status. He concludes, "It's been a joy to be a part of the Swans. There are so many unheralded heroes who have made the club the incredible force it is today."