Sydney’s season finished on the last Saturday of September, but were forced to watch Geelong run riot in the grand final, losing by 81-points.
Despite the thrashing from the Cats, the Swans 2022 campaign has been impressive, culminating with an opportunity on the biggest stage.
Bowing out in surprising fashion to cross-town rivals in the elimination final last year, Sydney came back with a purpose and their first two weeks reflected that.
The Giants were unable to match the Swans in the opening round, while Geelong had no answers at the SCG in round two, with Lance Franklin etching his name into immortality, kicking his 1000th goal.
The AFL world is still digesting a night of pure pandemonium at the @scg. Thousands of fans streamed onto the arena as Lance Franklin became just the sixth player to kick 1000 goals. https://t.co/5zYfOfGqUb @cleary_mitch #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/iDYwiDWcd5
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) March 26, 2022
After an impressive fortnight, Sydney was downed by the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium by 11 points the following week.
The Swans were back on the winner’s list in round four and five, knocking off North Melbourne and West Coast with relative ease.
Being tested by Hawthorn at Tasmania which saw a 32-point deficit in the first quarter, co-captain Callum Mills helped lead the club to a 41-point victory in a famous win.
However, the next month of football resulted in only one win (against Essendon) as losses to Brisbane and Gold Coast at home set the Swans on the back foot.
Facing Carlton at the Docklands, Sydney were no match for Charlie Curnow, who kicked six goals and led his side to victory.
At round 10, the Swans were hanging on to 7th spot and faced Richmond and Melbourne before the bye.
The Tigers matchup at the SCG was entertaining, with drama ensuing after the siren.
Sydney thought they locked away their seventh win of the year, but were forced to wait until a controversial umpire’s decision was resolved.
Richmond were awarded a free-kick just before the final siren around 70 metres from goal, to which youngster Chad Warner – unknowingly – kicked the ball into the stands and potentially costing his side a 50 metre penalty and shot at goal.
The final ruling was no punishment to Warner’s actions and a sigh of relief covered the SCG.
Dustin Martin and Jack Riewoldt FUME at the umpire after Richmond are denied a 50m penalty and the chance to tie the game after Swans star Chad Warner BOOTED the ball into the stands at the final siren – giving Sydney a dramatic win at the SCG https://t.co/YMZwgQcvYE pic.twitter.com/CAC4WrNXqx
— Tande (@tanndde) May 27, 2022
Melbourne was the next task, who just lost their first game of the season against Fremantle in round 11.
Trailing by 26 points, the ‘Bloods’ were valiant in their performance, overcoming the reigning premiers and providing a blueprint on how the Demons can be beaten.
Sitting sixth at the mid-season break, the Swans had the perfect springboard to launch their attack on the 2022 season.
However, the week off did the club no favours as they fell to Port Adelaide and the Bombers in the following rounds, while knocking off St Kilda in between.
The loss to Essendon sparked a tremendous winning streak that led all the way to the grand final.
Notable wins were against Fremantle at Optus Stadium and Collingwood in round 22, rushing to seven consecutive wins on the eve of the finals.
Sydney missed out on a home qualifying final by 2.6 per cent and faced Melbourne at the MCG.
Living in a confident space to get the job done, the game played out very similarly to the round 12 encounter.
The Demons jumped out of the gate and held a two-goal lead in the third quarter that was quickly diminished at the final change.
The pressure of the Swans was a focal point and proved to be too hard for Melbourne to deal with, booking themselves a home preliminary final at the SCG.
Enjoying a week off, Sydney had to wait to see who their opponent was, with Collingwood and Fremantle to do battle.
The former continued their fairytale and joined the Swans at the SCG for a highly anticipated clash, with a spot in the grand final up for grabs.
John Longmire’s men were on from the start, kicking 11 goals to seven in the first half.
The trend continued early in the third term as Sydney held a 23-point margin heading into the final change.
Knowing the Pies will keep coming, Longmire issued Mills to play a more defensive role from the midfield to curb any slingshot attack from the black-and-white.
Collingwood piled on four goals to one in the final term to draw the margin back to three points with two minutes to go.
A Tom Papley goal – filled with controversy – bucked the Pies momentum but not for long.
Sydney managed to hold on in heart-wrenching fashion by one solitary point, booking themselves a spot on the last Saturday of September against Geelong.
Returning to the MCG for the first time since 2019, grand final day was humming, as Melbourne put on a perfect day as the sun was shining.
— Melbourne, Australia (@Melbourne) September 24, 2022
Losing their last two grand finals (2014, 2016), the Swans were out to redeem their bad fortune on the ‘big dance’.
However, the Cats had other plans.
Despite the first goal coming nine minutes in the first term, Geelong put on a clinic, slotting six majors to one, opening a 35-point lead.
Although Sydney was able to curb the onslaught, the margin still held to six goals at the main change.
Unfortunately for Swans fans there wasn’t much they could do and the result was well beyond doubt once the Cats put the sword to their necks.
Geelong ran out eventual winners by 81 points and claimed their 10th premiership.
Across the ground, there wasn’t many players who could hold their head high, led by Franklin’s five touches and no goals.
Robbie Fox and Warner were clearly Sydney’s best but to no avail.
Don’t sleep on Chad Warner’s game. Never stopped running or trying. Got caught a few times, 12 last quarter touches. But 29 touches, two goals, ten clearances, 18 contested possessions, 582 metres gained. Apart from Robbie Fox and one or two others at times he never had any mates
— Jon Ralph (@RalphyHeraldSun) September 24, 2022
The grand final loss was extraordinary but has offered hope for the future.
Longmire’s list played well above their age, ranking seventh in age and experience with plenty of young talent holding the club in good stead going forward.
In his third season at the club, Chad Warner has announced himself as a star of the Swans.
Only 21-years-old, Warner was a pivotal member of the Sydney midfield, with his burst and dare key assets of his game.
The youngster famously kicked the ball to Franklin for his 1000th goal and was one of many special things he did throughout 2022.
Averaged 23 touches and four clearances, Longmire has a handy midfielder who can hit the scoreboard at will.
Warner polled 12 votes this year and was Sydney’s best in the losing grand final.
On the eve of the season, former number one pick and Saint Paddy McCartin was signed by Sydney in a stunning return from multiple bouts of concussion.
Playing in the VFL for Sydney, Paddy joined his younger brother, Tom (22), in the senior side as a fairytale was on the cards.
The 26-year-old played 24 out of a possible 25 in defence for Longmire alongside his brother and was one of the stories of the year.
The McCartin brothers have proven to be one of the premier defensive duos and will be for a long time coming.
Extending their time at the Swans, the pair re-signed just prior to the finals as a boost for Sydney’s future.
Franklin links to Brisbane
Although having re-signed with Sydney for one more year, Franklin was reported to be considering a move to Queensland, to be closer to friends and family.
Brisbane were the potential suitors for the 35-year-old but lost out to the Swans.
Franklin considered retiring and his finals performances indicated that the game may have started to go past him as he was well beaten by Steven May and Jack Henry.
Grand Final loss
Not much needs to be said about the grand final.
An 81-point loss equalled the fifth-biggest margin and was tough to watch for Sydney fans, according to Roar.
In a near perfect season, they just couldn’t put the cherry on top.
The match was reminiscent of Richmond’s triumph in 2019 as well as Melbourne’s in 2021.
What do Sydney need?
A key forward.
Players linked to the club
Sydney had initial interest in Dustin Martin, with reports suggesting the Brownlow Medalist was keen to get out of the Melbourne fishbowl. However, since then, Martin has committed to Richmond.
Griffin Logue was also floated as a potential option for the Swans.
|Harry Cunningham||Unrestricted Free Agent|
|Jake Lloyd||Unrestricted Free Agent|
|Sam Naismith||Unrestricted Free Agent|
|Sam Reid||Unrestricted Free Agent|
|Lewis Taylor||Unrestricted Free Agent|
Retirees and Delistings