Isaac Heeney celebrates a goal during Sydney's clash against the Western Bulldogs in round 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

SYDNEY is flying high at the top the ladder at 10-1 and is a great chance to feature on the last Saturday in September, but the Swans' hot start is far from unprecedented in the past quarter of a century.

Thursday night's tough win over the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium marked the Swans' 10th victory in 11 games and they will enter the bye this weekend six points clear at the top of the ladder.

John Longmire's side has been dominant to begin the campaign and is well placed to push for a first premiership since 2012, with Isaac Heeney, Chad Warner and Errol Gulden in fine form and Callum Mills – yet to play this season – as well as potentially Luke Parker to come into their side.

However, such a hot start is not a new thing; the Swans are remarkably the 21st team in 25 seasons since 2000 to start a season 10-1 or 10-0.

Of the previous 20, nine have gone all the way, including three of the past five premiers - Collingwood last year, Melbourne in 2021 and West Coast in 2018.

Like Sydney is now, the Magpies, Demons and Eagles were all 10-1 at this point of those premiership years.


Thirteen of the 20 teams who were 10-0 or 10-1 since 2000 have made the Grand Final, putting the Swans well and truly on track to at least reach the decider in 2024.

Interestingly, two teams made such a start in the same season four times between 2008 and 2013, but it's been more than a decade since more than one team started the year in such a fashion.


Only two teams have failed to reach the preliminary final stage after making a 10-0 or 10-1 start to the season through this period.

The first of those was in 2016, when North Melbourne started the season 10-1, lost nine of its final 11 home and away games to finish eighth and lost an elimination final in Adelaide by 62 points.

The other was in 2022, when Melbourne was 10-0 in its premiership defence, finished second but was bundled out in straight sets.

Sydney 2024 10-1 TBC
Collingwood 2023 10-1 Premier
Melbourne 2022 10-0 Out in straight sets
Melbourne 2021 10-1 Premier
Geelong 2019 10-1 Lost PF
West Coast 2018 10-1 Premier
North Melbourne 2016 10-1 Lost EF
Fremantle 2015 10-1 Lost PF
Port Adelaide 2014 10-1 Lost PF
Geelong 2013 10-1 Lost PF
Hawthorn 2013 10-1 Premier
Geelong 2011 10-0 Premier
Collingwood 2011 10-1 Lost GF
Geelong 2009 10-0 Premier
St Kilda 2009 10-0 Lost GF
Hawthorn 2008 10-1 Premier
Geelong 2008 10-1 Lost GF
West Coast 2006 10-1 Premier
West Coast 2005 10-1 Lost GF
St Kilda 2004 10-0 Lost PF
Essendon 2000 10-0 Premier