James Jordon in action during Sydney's clash against Collingwood in round one, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

THERE are a myriad of reasons why Sydney has become such an irrepressible force this season, but one of them dates to a tactical plan conjured up prior to the Swans' round six clash with Gold Coast.

It was the call to turn Melbourne recruit James Jordon into their lockdown man, adding another layer to the Swans' game plan that has seen them become a three-win better side than anyone else in the competition to this stage.

While Jordon was brought to Sydney as a depth option across the midfield and half-forward, coach John Longmire saw something else in him, and he's now become so adept at carrying out his tagging role he's known to teammates and fans as 'The Padlock'.

"It's a bit of carry-on from some of the boys, they're running with it," Jordon told AFL.com.au.

The 23-year-old has successfully diluted the influence of many stars in direct match-ups this season, including the Lachie Whitfield, Sam Walsh, Tom Stewart and Jordan Clark.

Lachie Whitfield is challenged by James Jordon during the round 15 match between Greater Western Sydney and Sydney at Engie Stadium in round 15, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

And it all started in the early season clash with the Suns.

"The Gold Coast game, 'Horse' (Longmire) mentioned that we wanted to shutdown Noah Anderson. He's a quality player and he felt like I was a good match-up for him and then it flowed on from there," Jordon said.

It worked, with Anderson managing just 19 disposals, two score involvements and two inside 50s in that encounter, numbers that are well below his season average as the Swans romped to a 53-point win.

A similar challenge has been thrown Jordon's way nearly every week since, and he has conquered them all.

He kept Whitfield to 19 touches, Stewart to five intercepts and Walsh to just 20 touches and four score involvements - one of only two occasions the Blues star has had less than 30 possessions this season.

"I'm a pretty competitive person and I love the challenge. If I can do my thing defensively and then help out on offence it goes a long way to helping us win," Jordon said.

"Versatility has always been a big strength of mine and being able to go to the opposition's best player, that's just another thing I've been able to add to my game.

"I'm really enjoying it and it helps the team."

James Jordon handballs during Sydney's clash against Melbourne in Opening Round, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Swans supporters eyes follow the No.17 come the start of a game to see who is tasked with stopping, and it will be no different at the SCG on Saturday as Sydney aims for a remarkable 11th win in a row when they take on fifth-placed Fremantle.

Half-back dasher Clark is Jordon's likely target again after keeping him to just 16 touches in round nine, but Andrew Brayshaw may be another option after his 32-disposal, 10-score involvement game last week.

"There's a couple of plans in place. 'Horse' has a few things up his sleeve," Jordon said.

But no matter which Docker commands Jordon's attention, they will have to be conscious of being punished by Jordon the other way, with his seven majors and penchant for kicking a goal at a crucial time this season making him extra dangerous.

"I feel like it's flowed on pretty naturally. I feel like I've struck a good balance of when to defend and when to attack and 'Horse' has encouraged me to just keep doing that," he said.


Aside from his major tagging role in the Swans' setup and handy eye for goal, Jordon is still somewhat of a quintessential quiet achiever in Sydney.

But there's one statistical category that he sits atop of that is worth making some noise about.

Of all the players in the League to have played 50 games, Jordon has the best winning percentage courtesy of his 65 games at the 2021 premiers in Melbourne and 13-1 record with Sydney to date.

Tom Sparrow, Angus Brayshaw, and James Jordon celebrate a goal during the match between Melbourne and North Melbourne at the MCG in round seven, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"It's a pretty cool stat, hopefully we can keep it going," he said.

As long as the near-uncontainable powers in the Swans' midfield remain injury-free, that record is only likely to improve.

Jordon admits their recent 10-minute blitz passages in quarters that completely take the contest away from the opposition even has him watching on in awe.

"It's pretty special. The years that Isaac (Heeney), Errol (Gulden), Chad (Warner), 'Rowey' (James Rowbottom) are having, they're so powerful bringing the ball out of the centre bounce," Jordon said.

"You see Brodie (Grundy) laying a tackle in there and 'Lizard' (Nick Blakey) running off half-back. It's a pretty special team and to have those moments in games, it's pretty powerful."


It's serving as a reminder of the unit he operated with at Melbourne in its premiership peak.

"It's just the ability to break the game open by breaking out of stoppage and kicking goals. 'Clarry' (Clayton Oliver) and 'Trac' (Christian Petracca) did that and (Sydney's midfield) are also just really strong in the contest," Jordon said.

"We value the things they do defensively as well and when they do that they get rewarded on offence. They're a special group of players I can say that for sure."

Jordon is a premiership player with the Demons, although he was the unused sub from the 2021 triumph over the Western Bulldogs.

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

While there are still multiple hurdles to jump and many opposition stars to clamp down on yet, Jordon admits he's dreaming about winning another premiership, but this time in a more prominent role as a Swan.

"Absolutely. We know the position we're in at the moment but we've still got a lot to work on as a footy club," he said.

"We know the areas we can still get better in but at the end of the day that is the ultimate goal and something we're all trying to achieve."