05/03/2024

Picture: sydneyswans.com.au.

With a new set of three debutants for the Sydney Swans, we take a look back at two previous sets of previous triple first-gamers for the club.

Sydney has its eye on the future and for the Swans, it starts on Saturday night.

Logan McDonald, Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden will debut for the Swans in round 1 against the Brisbane Lions in what is the first step of their burgeoning careers.

To celebrate, The Inner Sanctum takes a look back to the club’s two previous triple debuts.

The first was when the eventual captain and Brownlow medallist, Paul Kelly, was overshadowed at Princes Park by his fellow debutants, and a team performance to remember.

The second was a memorable night for Sydney that started a year from hell for Collingwood.


Round 1, 1990: Carlton Vs. Sydney at Princess Park


One of the most popular and courageous Swans in history, Paul Kelly played his first game in the opening game of 1990. It was the start of an illustrious career which would see him captain Sydney from 1993-2002, and win a Brownlow,

The debut however, was much more inauspicious for the man from rural NSW, registering just 12 touches and two tackles. Fellow debutants Shane Fell and Brad Tunbridge easily outshined the eventual champion.

Fell top scored for Sydney with five goals from five marks, while Tunbridge, rucking against champion Justin Madden, more than held his own with 12 hitouts and six disposals.

While the debut of Kelly was a memorable occasion, the match ranks as one of Sydney’s greatest wins of all-time, coming back from 45 points at half time to win at Princess Park for the first time since 1965.

Playing against the team he would achieve his premiership dream with five years later in 1995 was ‘Diesel’ Greg Williams. The dual Brownlow Medalist dominated in the midfield, amassing 43 disposals and two goals.

The most memorable moment, however, would have to be from Barry Mitchell. The 1991 best and fairest winner gathered 31 disposals and kicked three goals, including the go-ahead major that secured Sydney the win.

The trio of debutants had vastly different careers after the famous win.

Kelly would go on to be a all-time great for the Swans, Fell would manage 15 games in his one and only season for Sydney, while Tunbridge made it to 50 before has career ended in 1993.

Round 1, 2016: Collingwood Vs. Sydney at the SCG.


Sydney looked to be back in the pack after their finals campaign ended with a whimper in 2015.

On paper, The Swans’ opening round clash against the Magpies looked to be an even contest.

The trio of Callum Mills, George Hewett and Tom Papley were not drafted together, but had the honor of debuting on the SCG. It was a memorable debut for the trio, as the Swans, belted Collingwood by 80 points.

Lance Franklin, on the way to an 80 goal season. kicked four goals, while the eventual runner up in the Brownlow, Luke Parker had 40 disposals, six clearances and a goal.

All three debutants impressed on debut and have become key cogs in Sydney’s current day side. Mills, the eventual Rising Star, registered 18 disposals and two tackles, Papley booted three goals and laid five tackles while Hewett recorded 15 disposals, seven tackles, and a goal.

What to expect from Sydney’s 2021 debutants


A journey of a thousand miles will soon begin with a single step for Logan McDonald, Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden.

There are no guarantees of an overnight success story, however Swans fans should expect their young draftees to show plenty of promise in the opening round.

Logan McDonald, the heir apparent to Lance Franklin said he’s still soaking in the news he’ll debut in round one.

“It’s still a bit surreal, and a bit of a shock,” he said.

“When I was training out there, I was floating a little bit.

“Still over the moon, and yeah still hasn’t sunk in yet.

“To be making my debut with two of my best mates is surreal and yeah I can’t wait for Saturday.”

Campbell, an academy selection for Sydney, will move through the midfield and forward line.

“It came as a shock to me,” he said.

“I wasn’t expecting to be put in round one, but I’m over the moon about it. It still hasn’t sunk in, but slowly it’ll get there.

“At the moment I’m just over the moon about it.”

An academy selection alongside Campbell, Gulden will also move through the midfield and forward line.

“Slowly it’s sinking in, um not just yet,” Gulden said.

“It feels pretty raw I guess, yeah I think I’m just overwhelmed with joy.

“And [I’m] really happy that I’m able to do it with two of my closest mates as well.Gulden is also bullish about Sydney’s chances on Saturday night.

“I’m pretty happy with my pre-season, to date,” he said.

“But more importantly I think the team has got a lot of confidence. We’re a pretty young group and I think that works in our favour. We’ve got a lot of energy, and we’ve had a really good pre-season as a group.

“I think we’re more than ready to take it up to Brisbane, and show the rest of the competition what we’re about.”

The Swans finished in the bottom four last year for just the second time since 1994. If this trio can deliver on their enormous promise, it might be another two decades before it happens again.


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