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A Short History Of... Swans v GIANTS

Leigh Meyrick  April 18, 2017 12:34 PM

As the GIANTS and Swans prepare for Sydney Derby XII, take a look back at the history between the two sides.

As the GIANTS and Swans prepare for Sydney Derby XII, take a look back at the history between the two sides.

No other rivalry is as storied in the GIANTS’ short history as that against their cross-town rivals, the Swans.

The Sydney Derby has become a big event, not only for geographical reasons, but also for what has transpired when the GIANTS and Swans have met in their previous 11 occasions. 

The Swans have been a constant in the GIANTS’ growth, including being the opponent in their first AFL game (2012) and first AFL final (2016) - both at ANZ Stadium.


But the night the rivalry really came to life was March 15, 2014.

This match in round one of 2014 saw a freak storm bring the game to a halt at quarter time as Spotless Stadium was lashed with lightning.

When play resumed after a lengthy delay, spectators were treated to a tight arm-wrestle before the GIANTS held the Swans goalless in the final term to run out winners by 32-points and claim their first Sydney Derby. 

This game was former Swans premiership ruckman Shane Mumford’s first as a GIANT and it was the first game in charge for rookie coach Leon Cameron.

While most the GIANTS players were celebrating an unforgettable victory, co-captain Phil Davis was taken to hospital following a heavy knock to the kidney in the first term.

The courageous defender not only played out the game, but played a starring role against new Swans spearhead Buddy Franklin, who had been linked to the GIANTS during the previous season.

The opening round hiccup didn’t affect the Swans however, who went on to compete in that season’s Grand Final.


While 2014 was the first win for the GIANTS against the Swans, the most recent meeting between these two sides - in last year’s Qualifying Final - was also a historic night for the club.

After the Swans finished first on the AFL ladder at the end of the regular season, the GIANTS won in the final round to leap up to fourth spot and set up a dream week-one finals match-up.

The build up couldn’t have been bigger as the newly-introduced bye gave the city a two-week lead-in to the most important game between the two sides to this point.

Much more than just bragging rights was on the line with the victor to earn another week’s rest and a home Preliminary Final.

In front of a very vocal crowd, the baby brothers took the win by 36 points in a brutal match.

After taking a two-point lead to half-time, the GIANTS got some breathing space in the third term courtesy of a three-goal burst in five minutes from star forward Jeremy Cameron.

In what turned out to be a demolition derby, the GIANTS were unstoppable in their first finals foray, showing poise beyond their years for a convincing victory.

Crossover between the rivals has been limited, with Mumford the only former Swan on the current playing list. Former Swan Jed Lamb was on the GIANTS list in 2014 and 2015 but never played against his former club before being traded to Carlton.

Numerous GIANTS staff members have also spent time playing for the Swans including assistant coach Amon Buchanan (2005 premiership player), Academy coach Jason Saddington (142 games) and AFLW coach Tim Schmidt (17 games). 

While he never played an AFL game for the GIANTS, Swans midfield Harry Cunningham came through the GIANTS Academy and spent time on the club’s list prior to the 2012 season. 

Cunningham has gone on to play 73 games for the Swans and has recently been joined by another GIANTS Academy product with Canberra’s Sam Fisher picked up by Sydney in last year’s rookie draft.  


While the GIANTS have won the last two Sydney Derbies to improve the head-to-head record to 3-8, the club has never tasted success at the SCG. 

The SCG has hosted four derbies with the Swans claiming all four by an average margin of 55 points. 

While a crowd of more than 60,000 to match the 2016 Qualifying Final attendance won’t occur at the SCG this Saturday, a premiership-season record crowd between the two rivals is possible.

38,203 watched the first Sydney Derby in 2012 and with so much on the line for both clubs this week, don’t be surprised if this gets eclipsed in Sydney Derby XII.

The GIANTS take on the Swans at the SCG on Saturday night, click here to buy tickets. Please note this is a Swans home game with GIANTS members needing to purchase a ticket for access to this match.