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Swallow: The timeline

RELATED: Swallow photos | Swallow ends stellar career | Ten of the best

North Melbourne champion Andrew Swallow announced his retirement on Thursday.

Today, we are celebrating the career of the three-time Syd Barker Medal winner.

Below is a timeline of the highs and lows of Swallow’s 224-game career.


Selected in the National Draft by North - pick #43
“Andrew Swallow (Western Australia) - 18 years, 183cm, 75kg, East Fremantle/Rossmoyne Medium midfielder with terrific work rate and attack on the ball. Captained Western Australia to championship success in NAB AFL under 16 championships in 2003. He was Western Australia's under-18 captain in this year's championships. Was in team's best few players against Vic Metro and South Australia - leading from the front. AIS-AFL Academy graduate in 2004.”  - Kevin Sheehan  


Debuted Round 8 v Fremantle (Jumper #19)
10 disposals, 6 tackles

‘Rising Star’ nomination Round 17 v Geelong
25 disposals, 4 marks, 1 goal


Played every game
First finals series (Three games – QF, SF, PF)


Sent back to VFL and suffers ankle injury
“It was a dramatic turnaround for the West Australian from last season, when form and injury restricted him to just three senior games. After 37 games in his first two seasons, Swallow was dropped to the VFL last year. Just when he felt he was starting to find some form again, he was struck down by an ankle injury and was unable to break back into the senior team after returning to the VFL.” - Herald Sun

Wins VFL Premiership with North Ballarat
"Andrew Swallow played 20-odd games with us and played in our first premiership in 2008 … I'm really proud of the way Andrew is captaining his club and the regard he is held in at North Melbourne, but he started with us. They are the individual things which I think are great." - Gerard Fitzgerald (former North Ballarat coach)


Gets reprieve to return to AFL
“After a brief discussion at the round-one selection meeting, Swallow was left out of the 22 for the season opener. But on the Friday, Liam Anthony, selected to make his debut, was diagnosed with stress fractures of the foot. Swallow would be the late inclusion, and to say he was about to make the most of the opportunity would be an understatement” - The Age (Rohan Connolly)

Wins First Syd Barker Medal
“North Melbourne midfielder Andrew Swallow's break-out season was rewarded when he won his first Syd Barker Medal last night. The 22-year-old polled in 21 of his 22 games to claim the club’s best-and-fairest award with 487 votes” - Herald Sun
''It was satisfying, but I want to take my game to a higher level." - Andrew Swallow


Named in All-Australian squad

Misses second Syd Barker by one vote
"I truly believe that we will be able to achieve great things if we can all stick together … The club has a really bright future and Brad Scott, the coaches and staff have all put a lot of work into turning things around. I'm just really happy to be a part of the future here and am looking forward to watching our young midfield develop and improve." - Andrew Swallow


Named vice-captain

Played 100th game in Round 17 v Western Bulldogs

Wins Syd Barker
“Very honoured to win this, not only once but for the second time. I feel very privileged to play for this club … Special mention to Brad (Scott) for putting the faith in me to perform week-in, week-out … I’ve really enjoyed taking on a bit of a leadership role within the midfield group.” - Andrew Swallow

“Swallow was runner-up by a single vote in 2010 but now joins some of the club's modern-day greats such as Wayne Carey and Anthony Stevens as multiple winners of the medal, following his victory in 2009.” - The Age

Named in All-Australian squad

Selected in the International Rules Team (two games)


Awarded captaincy
"I've had a few opportunities in my junior career but I think as I go along (my leadership) will evolve … I'm probably not someone who will be in people's faces and yelling and screaming. I like to lead by the way I play, similar to the way that 'Boomer' (Harvey) prepares and the way he goes about his footy … (I'll also be) just getting alongside the guys and getting to know them really well and making sure that they're travelling well." - Andrew Swallow

Wins Syd Barker
“Tough midfielder Andrew Swallow has won his third North Melbourne best-and-fairest award. Swallow capped a stunning first season as captain by easily winning the Syd Barker Medal with 60 votes. Swallow, 25, finished the season as the club's leading possession getter with 594 disposals and led the league in tackles with 164” - Herald Sun

“It’s a bit surreal, but I feel very privileged … It’s great. I’m really proud to have won it a third time now, and it’ll be great to look back on in the future” - Andrew Swallow

Named in All-Australian squad


Suffers season-ending achilles injury Round 18 v Melbourne
“Swallow, a three-time club best and fairest winner, collapsed to the turf at Etihad Stadium two minutes into the third quarter against Melbourne after taking the ball in the centre circle, running unimpeded towards goal.” - The Age

"We're obviously devastated for him, but probably the most philosophical and level-headed person in all of this has been Andrew himself. He's a remarkable young guy ... He's the only person in his situation, or a situation like it, who actually considers himself pretty lucky. He's played 106 games in a row and playing this brutal sport it's unusual for players to play that many games without injury.” - Brad Scott


Returns to AFL Round 9 v Brisbane
“I’m still probably lacking a bit of power in it and a bit with my jumping, but the rest of it feels fine. My Achilles is probably twice as fat as what it used to be, so speed-wise I’m fine, it’s more the jumping.” - Andrew Swallow


Signs contract extension (until 2018)
"It wasn't something I had to think about, to be honest. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else and told him to get it done for sure." - Andrew Swallow

Played 21 games
Missed two matches with a broken thumb

“I didn’t feel like I had too many outstanding games, but I performed my role most weeks, which was pleasing” - Andrew Swallow


Plays 200th game Round 16 v West Coast Eagles
“He’s fantastic. He’s led the way and he’s so hard over the the ball and his tackling shows that and really sets an example for us.” - Scott Thompson

“When you play with Spitter you know exactly what you are going to get every week, and that’s a fierce contest … To play 200 games and be captain of the footy club for the past five or six years is an outstanding achievement.” - Jack Ziebell

Hands captaincy over to Jack Ziebell
“It’s been an absolute honour to lead this football club for the last five years … My time has come to step aside and to encourage the next generation of leaders to takeover, and to be there to support them and guide them through” - Andrew Swallow

"When you look at your captain, he's the leader, he's the face of the club in a lot of ways, but where you want your captain to stand up is on field, particularly in big games, and he's a big-game player … He's a really inclusive leader, who's taken direction from lots of different people and he's led our team exceptionally well” - Brad Scott

Life member North Melbourne Football Club
“To be able to play for one club for over ten years is something that I’m very proud of.” – Andrew Swallow


Battles with form

Recalled for Round 7 win v Melbourne
“Former North skipper Andrew Swallow collected 24 disposals in an impressive midfield display.” -

"A few of our coaching group said how positive they both were in the warm-up. The positivity, the leadership they provided, that was a real credit to them. They were engaged right from the word go, both of them," - John Lamont (Werribee Coach)

Announces retirement from AFL football after 224-games with the North Melbourne Football Club 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs