Errol Gulden during Sydney's game against Geelong in R16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

ERROL Gulden has become the youngest player to win the Bob Skilton Medal in 43 years after romping home to claim the top honour in just his third season in the AFL.

The 21-year-old is the youngest player to win the Swans' Club Champion award since David Ackerley in 1980, before the club moved to Sydney.

It was a feat that never looked in doubt as he finished more than 250 votes clear of second placed Nick Blakey and James Rowbottom, who finished in third place for the second year in a row.

Gulden's feat crowns a stunning campaign that saw the dynamic left-footer claim his first All-Australian blazer and finish in fourth place in the Brownlow Medal count.

That has solidified his emergence as one of the more damaging players in the AFL, off the back of a season that saw him lead the entire competition for inside 50s and the Swans for disposals.

Gulden, who also won the Paul Kelly Player's Player of the Year award, was presented with his first Club Champion Medal by Sydney Swans Hall of Famer John Heriot and Bob Skilton's granddaughter Rebecca Skilton.


"Errol had an extraordinary season. For a third-year player to do what he did was remarkable. He is an exceptional young man and already a much-respected teammate," said Sydney's footy boss Charlie Gardiner.

After the Swans were cruelled by the career-ending injury to Paddy McCartin early in the season along with injury setbacks to Tom McCartin and Dane Rampe at different stages, Blakey was required to elevate the defensive side of his game, which he did with aplomb.

The 23-year-old, who committed to a mammoth seven-year contract extension at the club this season, was named in the All-Australian squad of 40 for the first time and capped off his stellar year with the Adam Goodes Trophy for second place in the count.

Nick Blakey in action during round five, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Rowbottom's status as one of the League's most underrated midfielders was enhanced by his third-placed finish to take home the Peter Bedford Trophy for the second year running.

The award has demonstrated his unquestionable value to the Swans once more as he etched his name in the club's record books with 176 tackles, the most in a season by a Swans player.

Hayden McLean's breakout season up forward and in the ruck was noted with the Most Improved award while Angus Sheldrick took home the Rising Star gong.

The popular Harry Cunningham bounced back from a difficult 2022 season to play every game this year and was named Best Clubman while Corey Warner was the recipient of the VFL player of the year.

The 2023 Bob Skilton Medal 

1. Errol Gulden – 738 votes
2. Nick Blakey – 481
3. James Rowbottom – 471
4. Luke Parker – 456
5. Chad Warner – 453
6. Oliver Florent – 448
7. Jake Lloyd – 430
8. Callum Mills – 426
9. Tom Papley – 411
10. Harry Cunningham – 392

Club Champion votes are awarded by Sydney's coaching staff. A player can be awarded a maximum of 50 votes per game, and coaches can allocate up to 10 votes for as many or as few players as they deem appropriate, per match.