Dane Swan's brilliant quip for girlfriend as AFL world loses it over Hall of Fame speech

The Collingwood champion had the room laughing as he accepted the huge honour.

Dane Swan had the room in hysterics on Tuesday night as he delivered a brilliant speech after being formally inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame. On a night when Hawthorn champion Jason Dunstall was officially elevated to Legend status, Swan was named among six new inductees into the Hall at Tuesday's gala event in Melbourne.

Fellow Brownlow medallist Kelvin Templeton, inaugural Adelaide Crows captain Chris McDermott, Indigenous speedster Michael Graham, West Perth great Ray Schofield and NSW pioneer Ralph Robertson were also acknowledged. But Swan stole the show with a raw and heartfelt induction speech that got typically loose at times.

Dane Swan and girlfriend Taylor Wilson at the AFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Dane Swan had a brilliant one-liner for girlfriend Taylor Wilson during a hilarious AFL Hall of Fame speech. Image: Fox Footy/Getty

When asked his initial reaction to getting the call from the AFL, Swan said he didn't answer and rung his manager straight away instead. “I s**t myself to be honest,” he admitted. “A number I didn’t know called and I don’t answer numbers I don’t know because they’re usually not good news.

“He texted me and said it’s (AFL Commission chairman) Richard Goyder from the AFL and I said ‘what’ve I done?’ I didn’t ring him back, I rang my manager (Liam Pickering) straight away and asked ‘why have the AFL rung me?’

“It was nice of Pickers to have some faith in me, he was like ‘I’ve got no idea but if you were in real deep s**t (Goyder) wouldn’t have been calling you so I think you’re all right’. I called him back and this (Hall of Fame induction) was it, it was the nicest call I’ve ever had from the AFL, that’s for sure.”

Swan was a leader of Collingwood's famous "rat pack" during their dominant period under coaching legend Mick Malthouse and his successor Nathan Buckley. Swan was criticised at times for perceived unprofessionalism and courted his fair share of off-field controversy. But he was a genuine superstar of the competition on the field, helping the Pies win the flag in 2010 and winning the Brownlow with a then-record 34 votes in 2011.

A self-confessed "s***head" during his junior days, Swan confessed that he initially believed playing elite footy was all about fun and games off the field. "I thought playing AFL was all about getting drink cards on a Saturday night," he said. "I'd give no effort - well I did give a lot of effort but it was all on a Saturday nights. There was no effort during the day and I didn't deserve to be on an AFL list."

Dane Swan during his AFL Hall of Fame speech.
Dane Swan drew plenty of laughs during his AFL Hall of Fame speech. Image: Getty
Dane Swan, pictured here with his AFL Hall of Fame certificate.
Dane Swan with his AFL Hall of Fame certificate. Image: Getty

The 40-year-old pinpointed the fork in the road that made him realise he had to change his ways. "When I got arrested," he said. "That was fun. I got in that blue and got in trouble and thought I was going to be sacked. You don't know what you've got until it's gone. It's very cliche, but it rang true with me."

Swan was arrested after a fight with bouncers at the end of 2003 - his second year at Collingwood. His father Bill Swan - a VFL great - told him he should walk away if he wasn't interested in an AFL career.

“Mick (Malthouse) said ‘prove to me you belong here’ and I started repaying some of the faith," he said. “It didn’t put me on the right path, it put me on a righter path.

“I’ve got no idea why they kept me. I was like a cockroach, they couldn’t kill me. My old man said I got better every year, got more games, got more confident. Mick threw me in the midfield and away we went.”

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Swan took some cheeky digs at Collingwood and Pickering that drew plenty of laughs. “Collingwood, I know I’m not in your Hall of Fame, so I know you don’t rate me as highly as the AFL," he joked. “But they know I can be bribed and bought pretty easily so they bought a table for my mates tonight so we’re square.”

He said to Pickering: “Thank you for sticking with me for 20 years and all the controversy, then I thought about it and I’ve actually stuck with you for all the ups and downs that you’ve had. The five or six management companies, the court cases, and you’re still taking a clip off me so I reckon we’re square.”

He also thanked girlfriend Taylor Wilson and couldn't resist another cheeky one-liner. “I’m not a cunning linguist...Lucky I got that out, that could’ve been dangerous," he said to more laughter. “Without you I don’t know where I’d be. I love you so, so much. Please remember these kind words when I’m refusing to come to bed in about 10 hours and I won’t kick anyone out of the afterparty.”