Meanwhile Geoffrey Edelsten was looking for a coach who could bring on-field success and help market our great game in Sydney. Acting on the advice of one Kevin Sheedy, Edelsten appointed Tommy coach of the Sydney Swans in 1986 and once more the Hafey family folded their tent, destined this time for the harbour city. This time however, brother Peter did not make the journey. Peter had been Tommy’s runner at Richmond, Collingwood and Geelong and experienced all the highs and lows of these eventful years.
History will confirm that the Sydney Swans were not in great shape when Tommy took over. The truth is they were in a parlous state. But as was his wont, Tommy immediately went to work to turn the place around. Again, his record speaks for itself. From 10th position with 6 wins the year before he took over, the Swans rocketed up the ladder to finish in 2nd place with 16 wins. Unfortunately their finals campaign didn’t go the way they would have liked, losing both finals to finish the year in 4th place. However, the Swans produced the joint Brownlow medallist (Greg Williams) and Warwick Capper burst on the scene with a 92 goal haul to finish 2nd in the AFL goal-kicking.
The Swans were humming under Tommy and 1987 saw them finish in 3rd place at the end of the home and away rounds with 15 wins. However the finals campaign was no better than the previous year with losses in both finals. Capper kicked the “ton” (103 goals) and the Swans again produced the Brownlow medallist, this time Gerard Healy.
Tommy’s final year with the Swans, and his last as an AFL coach, saw them finish 7th with 12 wins.
The Tommy Hafey Club 2020 event program will be announce early in the New Year.