James Jordon at Sydney training on December 4, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

YOU COULD almost forgive James Jordon for having just a morsel of sourness towards Melbourne amid his departure from the Demons.

The soon to be 23-year-old was on the team sheet for 65 of the club's 74 games across the past three seasons, including every match of their premiership campaign in 2021.

But the raw numbers mask the finer details; Jordon was an unused sub for that Grand Final win, as he was for the qualifying final a month earlier, and has featured in just one of the four losing finals Melbourne has been involved in since then.

James Jordon in action during Melbourne's clash against Richmond in round six, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

In all, Jordon was the Dees' sub a staggering 12 times in those three seasons (including being unused on three occasions) and he was also subbed off twice after being named in the starting 22. In more than 21 per cent of his games at AFL level, he's worn the sub's vest at some stage.

Having struggled to nail down a regular spot in the second half of 2023, he started to open his mind to a fresh venture. Having moved his life over the border to become a Swan, he's hopeful greater midfield minutes will follow.

Yet despite being sidelined at some crucial moments at the Demons, there is nothing but fondness for the club that gave him his chance in the big time.

"I loved it. It was such a great football club with great people there, all the players, all the staff," he told AFL.com.au.

James Jordon and Simon Goodwin after the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

"They're the reason that I've grown as a player and the player that I am today and I'll be forever grateful for them for giving me the opportunity to play AFL football, that's for sure.

"You just want to be playing senior footy every week and I felt earlier in the year I was playing some good footy and I was still in and out a bit or was a sub.

"But that's all about being part of such a good club. The players that they've got in there, it's always going to be competitive for spots and I probably just felt the time was right to take an opportunity for a bit more midfield time.

"The decision was a hard one, but I feel like it was the right one for me."

James Jordon in action during the R4 match between Melbourne and West Coast at Optus Stadium on April 9, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

As Jordon started contemplating moving on from the club that selected him with pick 33 in the 2018 draft, Sydney moved in as coach John Longmire looked to beef up the club's midfield stocks.

"Towards the back end of the year, I was talking to my manager Mark Kleiman a fair bit. I was really keen to focus on finishing off the year with Melbourne and trying my hardest just to get back into that team," he said.

"We said once the season is over, we can sit down together and really nut it all out. Once we did, we had a meeting with 'Horse' (Longmire) and Charlie (Gardiner, Sydney football manager), and their presentation was really good and really appealing to me. There was an opportunity there and something to be a part of for the next years going forward."

James Jordon at Sydney training on December 4, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

That opportunity is partly to fill a gap on the wing left by Dylan Stephens, who has moved to North Melbourne, but also as a half-forward and inside midfield option, which is an area the clearance-deficient Swans needed to enhance following the 2023 season.

Jordon believes he can add value there, but Longmire has told him his flexibility will be utilised.

"A number of different roles (is the message from the coaches), whether that be on the outside on the wing or playing inside a bit and across half forward as well. That's something I'm really looking forward to.

"I feel like in 2022 I had a really strong year playing on the wing. That gave me a lot of confidence that I can be a good player at the level. Then last year I obviously played a bit more inside and was thrown around a bit more."

Jordon's switch to Sydney has led to a reunion with Swans midfielder James Rowbottom, his former Oakleigh Chargers teammate who was drafted eight picks ahead of him in 2018.

James Jordon and James Rowbottom during the match between Melbourne and Sydney in round 12, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"It makes it a lot easier when you have that sort of connection there. Although we didn't play a heap of footy together at Oakleigh, it was just very good knowing someone that was already up here," he said.

"He's already a good mate of mine, we get along really well and I'm just looking forward to getting to know him and a lot of the other boys a lot better."

Along with Taylor Adams, Brodie Grundy and Joel Hamling, Jordon is part of a quartet of new recruits as the Swans go all-in on a premiership assault following their 2022 Grand Final appearance.

James Jordon at Sydney training on December 4, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

As someone who has been involved in a top-four side for most of his career, Jordon is well aware of what a premiership group is comprised of and he's bullish about his new side's prospects of claiming the cup again after a decade of near misses.

"Absolutely, that is our ultimate goal. Bringing in Joel, Brodie and Taylor, it's really exciting and we're all in for sure," he said.

"We can't wait to get stuck into the year and give it everything we've got. Because we know it's a realistic chance, for sure."