The Swans' 2017 campaign finally came to an end on Friday night, an antithesis ending to the sensational resurrection of a season long thought gone.
The Swans continued their impressive membership growth this season - increasing every season since 2011 - signing up another 2,500 members on last year to smash the membership barrier for the fifth consecutive season.
Passing last season's record membership total before round five, the Swans looked on course to smash through 60,000 members before their early season slump slowed the growth, eventually finishing on 58,838.
“The support of our members is incredibly important to the Club and to see us break our record membership is an amazing achievement,” Kennedy said.
“Our members are so passionate and there is just nothing better than seeing and hearing you in full voice whether we’re at home at the SCG or on the road.
“We’re going to need our members supporting as passionately as ever as we look to bounce back this week in a huge clash with the Giants for Sydney Derby XII.
“Thanks to all those members who have signed up for the season, and we hope you can help us fill the stands with even more red and white by recruiting your friends and family.”
The Swans' membership growth over the last six years has been nothing short of sensational, increasing by more than 31 thousand from 27,106 with double-digit growth per season - until 2017.
Starting the season with six straight losses, the Swans were staring the wooden spoon in the face sitting dead last on the ladder.
Three wins in a row brought some hope back into the supporter base, more accustomed to winning than losing, before the loss to Hawthorn brought all hopes and dreams back down to earth with an almighty thud.
11 wins from the next 12 matches and the Swans became the first team in VFL/AFL history to make the finals after their 0-6 start, their equal worst start since 1993. Three wins from the first ten games was their equal worst start since 1995.
Neil Cordy wrote in May (paywalled) -
"IF the Sydney Swans qualify for the finals this season it will be the equivalent of winning the Stawell Gift starting from the carpark."
The previous team to make the finals after starting 0-4 was Ron Barassi's North Melbourne outfit in 1975, winning their first premiership that year.
Yet the belief was there, even after the Swans lost to Hawthorn in round ten, declaring anything was possible if they took it one game at a time.
“We still believe we can make the finals,” Papley said.
“Why not? In 2014 we won 14 in a row, we have the personnel to do that. If we worry just about next week the rest will take care of itself. We will do that until that last round. It’s about staying positive and believing we can win.”
In the end, the Swans finished the season with fourteen wins, the best defence, the third highest percentage and just a game and half outside the top four.
The records continued to tumble for the Sydney Swans in their first final against Essendon, the 634th AFL/VFL final on record.
Their second quarter score of 10.3 (63) is now the highest ever scored in the second quarter of a match in finals history.
The Swans even set their own club records, their first half score of 13.5 (83) their highest ever half-time score in a final, 121 points scored their highest ever at the SCG in a final, and the 65 point winning margin the biggest at the SCG in a final.
- First team to make the finals from 0-6
- Highest ever second quarter score in a final (Sydney Swans vs Essendon Bombers, 2nd Elimination Final, 2017)
- Membership record, 58,838 (2017)
- Highest ever first-half score in a final, 83 (Sydney Swans vs Essendon Bombers, 2nd Elimination Final, 2017)
- Highest ever winning score at the SCG in a final, 121 (Sydney Swans vs Essendon Bombers, 2nd Elimination Final, 2017)
- Largest winning margin at the SCG in final, 65 (Sydney Swans vs Essendon Bombers, 2nd Elimination Final, 2017)
- Biggest ever AFL crowd at the SCG, 46,323 (Sydney Swans vs Essendon Bombers, 2nd Elimination Final, 2017)
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