Since the Swans initiated their famed ”Bloods” team culture at the end of 2002, they have played in nine of the following ten finals series – more than any other team.

Leading Teams Director, Ray McLean began work with the Sydney Swans in 2002, and through using our model to develop the Swans’ Trademark, the Bloods culture was created.

The AFL’s salary cap and draft system means successful teams can stay at the top of the ladder for a few seasons, then usually drop out of finals contention to rebuild.

The Swans’ skilful drafting of players from other clubs and a solid team culture means it has achieved incredible consistency.

To say goodbye to a great footy season and to congratulate the Swans on their brilliant premiership win, we have collated some quotes on the Bloods Culture from over the years.

“The other [factor for success] is the culture of the club. I think it started with Leading Teams and the players really bought in, and now if you don’t do the right thing, you’re not there.”
Steve Wright (Former Sydney Swans Champion)

“That’s really important. You want to make sure you’ve got leaders across the ground and we think that with the nine that we’ve got we’ve got a good spread and a good mix with some youth coming through. “
Kieren Jack

“We have a culture that we’ve set up – you either choose your way in or choose your way out.”
Jarrad McVeigh

Collingwood’s ex-Swans ruckman Darren Jolly admits his new club wants to build something as strong, and he didn’t understand the strength and quality of what the Swans had until he left.

“Sydney’s culture was extremely strong when I walked in.”
Darren Jolly

“We had a nucleus of players that really wanted to stand for something and build a better culture. We certainly got on board with Roosy, and it’s been continued with [current coach] John Longmire.”
Jude Bolton

“Player empowerment, playing for each other, never saying die, and strong off-field standards are its hallmarks, club culture is critical to success, but takes time to build.”
Jude Bolton

“We do have to give a few pretty brutal assessments to teammates; it’s a culture of open and honest feedback. It’s something we’re really proud of, but it takes a lot of guys to buy in.”
Jude Bolton

“The Sydney Swans “culture” delivered their magnificent 2012 premiership win. Not Adam Goodes or Lewis Jetta – who are regarded as outstanding match-breaking players – or Norm Smith medallist Ryan O’Keefe. The victory was delivered by trust, care, selflessness and respect. Some teams rely on players, Sydney Swans rely on their system.”
Grant Thomas, AFL Sports Writer and former St Kilda Head Coach

“The culture at the club is now fantastic and it is the main reason why the team has been so successful. When players arrive at Sydney, either in the draft or as second-chance players from another club, they are inducted immediately and told in no uncertain terms what is required of them and that they are lucky to play for the Swans.”
Michael O’Loughlin

“They are told to buy in to the culture; that the club has a road map to success and if they don’t want to follow it, if they want to get ahead of themselves, they might as well go straight away. So they absolutely buy into the team ethos and it’s evident in the way Sydney goes about its business in every game.”
Michael O’Loughlin

“It’s player driven, everyone plays their role. It might sound boring but it’s why the club is so good, why it’s into another grand final.”
Michael O’Loughlin

Ray McLean

Ray McLean

Ray founded Leading Teams in 1992 after working as a leadership officer with the Air Force. He has published two books, ‘Any Given Team’ and ‘Team Work’. Ray is based in Geelong.
Learn more about Ray.