Sydney Swans change 60-year-old AFL club song to remove gendered language

The Sydney Swans have made a “small but important change” to their club song by removing a gendered reference in an effort to promote inclusivity ahead of a possible move into the AFL Women’s league.

Cheer, Cheer the Red and the White has, since its inception in 1961, included the words “her loyal sons”, but the club announced on Thursday that had now been changed to “our loyal Swans”.

The move comes as the Swans work up a bid to enter a women’s team in the AFLW. They are currently one of just four AFL clubs – along with Port Adelaide, Hawthorn and Essendon – without a women’s team.

The club does have a youth girls’ program, and the Academy Under-19s side sang the tweaked song after a recent victory over Geelong. The men’s side play Brisbane in their first game of the season on Saturday, after which the new lyrics will be given an airing in the event of a win.

“In light of the continual evolution of our club, we have made a small but important change to our club song which is reflective of who we are and where we are going,” a Swans statement said. “The second last line of our song will now read: ‘While our loyal swans are marching, onwards to victory’.

“We are a proud, historic and inclusive club and we are excited about our future. A key part of that is the expansion of our QBE Sydney Swans Youth Girls Academy program and looking ahead to a future AFLW team. Swans members and fans should know we are working hard towards a women’s team.”

Sydney is known for being one of the more progressive AFL clubs; the Swans regularly champion the LGBTQI+ community and contest the annual Pride game, while they also celebrate the game’s Indigenous culture with their involvement in the Marn Grook fixture.