The Sydney Swans AFLW team walks out to train on the SCG for the first time, flanked by the AFL Men's team. Image: Sydney Swans / Phil Hilyard

Sydney Swans AFLW Season 7 Preview

The Sydney Swans are finally entering the AFLW for the first time, and ready to make an impact.

The Swans have recruited some talented players and will draw on the strength of their academy, but they will be up against it in their first season.


After waiting on applying for an AFLW licence until their precinct redevelopment was underway, the Swans are ready to enter the competition in Season Seven.

The Swans Academy has been in operation for years, and several talented locals joining the club, giving the new team a home-grown flavour. Despite being new to the competition, the Swans are certain to give their opponents a run for their money with an exciting game style and plenty of effort.

Coaching team

Scott Gowans will lead the Swans in their first season after previously being jettisoned by the Kangaroos after taking them to a semi-final win in 2020 before COVID-19 struck. Gowans comes with plenty of coaching experience, having since spent time working with the Blues and the Magpies as an assistant.

Gowans will be joined by Senior Assistant Baker Denneman. Denneman is also the Female Academy's coach, giving the Swans significant experience in coaching the women's game.

The Swans' AFLW side is closely linked to the men's side and the VFL side, as the Gulden family strengthens its links to the club. Adam is the VFL captain, while younger brother Errol has become a star of the AFL. Their mother, Bronwyn, who has long coached at Maroubra Saints AFL Club, has also joined as an assistant to Gowans.

With a pedigree of coaching at the highest level from Gowans and talent development from Denneman and Gulden, the Swans will look to grow in leaps and bounds in their first season.

Kate Mahony has been appointed EGM of AFLW for the Swans, oversees the program as a whole, and will eventually supervise the move for the women (and the Female Academy) to the Royal Hall of Industries, the Swans' new club headquarters for the entire, expanded club.


The Swans were reportedly after some of the biggest names, like Ellie Blackburn and Ash Riddell, but ended up missing out on a marquee star. It focused on players who have been starved of opportunities at other clubs and a level approach to recruitment.

Bella Smith, Sarah Dargan and Maddy Collier, have all made starts at other clubs but will be hoping to make a bigger impact in red and white than their previous colours.

Ally Morphett was one former Giant lured across town as the Swans made sure to get revenge on their more-established cross-town rival and recoup a Swans Academy graduate.

Players like Brenna Tarrant and Bec Privitelli have shown more than flashes at their previous clubs and will be hoping to lead the Swans early.

Biggest strength

Game style. The Swans have flashed an attacking game style in their early practice matches, with the run and gun that has been synonymous with the red and white for the past few seasons at the fore.

It is an attacking game style that will allow the Swans to score freely to keep themselves in games, as they push opposition teams to the brink, with their ability to spread wide and move quickly. It will challenge opponents as long as the ball skills stay effective.

In their final practice match against the Magpies, the Swans looked to play an aggressive style of football, picking off uncontested marks in the corridor and looking to play on or find a player running past.

Where they can bring the ball to ground inside forward 50, Privitelli and young gun Cynthia Hamilton will be menacing, pouncing on the loose ball. Hamilton has racked up goals in both pre-season matches, while Brooke Lochland is never far away from the goals, having kicked an AFLW record seven goals in a match in 2018.

Biggest weakness

The Swans' defence is a worry, with Bella Smith and Kiara Beesley the experienced heads in defence. The Swans have been overrun in the second half of both practice matches, as the weight of attacking pressure eventually becomes too much.

With Smith or Lexi Hamilton likely to be forced to play as the leading key defender on the best forwards in the competition, the Swans may be left vulnerable at times to a dominant key forward.

While the Swans' brand is two-way running, with a young and inexperienced side, will the midfield find the stamina to keep flooding back and help out the defensive group as matches wear on?

Rising star 

Montana Ham is one of the obvious choices, as the Number One overall pick this year, and the Swans' first-ever draft pick. While she manages school this season and pre-season, one of the Swans' other milestone signings has made a name for herself.

Ruby Sargent-Wilson was the first player to sign with the Swans AFLW side and is a former Swans Academy graduate. The eighteen-year-old has made an early impression with her work on the wing and running back in defence.

Sargent-Wilson was one of Gowans' key targets and has made a name for herself in the AFLW Summer Series in Canberra and playing in underage championships in NSW. She will immediately be a focal point on the outside for the Swans and will be critical to their aggressive game style.

Prediction for Season 7

The Swans will be very competitive, but it will be tough for the expansion sides against the more experienced teams in the competition. The Swans avoid some of the contenders for finals and will hope to sneak wins against fellow expansion sides Essendon and Hawthorn and will be optimistic against St Kilda and Geelong.

Despite that, it will be a tough season for the young side that looks to be building for the future and will likely take some years to develop.

Predicted ladder position: 17th