David Swallow was the SUNS’ first official draftee. He was the youngest member of the first Gold Coast SUNS side, and the youngest member of the first SUNS side to play at home. He was the first SUNS player to 200 games and to 50 wins. And on Saturday afternoon he’ll add another significant line to his wonderful football CV.

It’s something that goes back well before the birth of the SUNS to a time when a now 31-year-old Swallow was “minus five”. Or Sunday 19 April 1987, the day the AFL came to the Gold Coast.

The old Brisbane Bears hosted Fitzroy in the first official AFL game at what was known simply as “Carrara”, built at the behest of owner Christopher Skase on a one-time paddock partway between Broadbeach and Nerang.

Fitzroy, coached by David Parkin, won 20-9 (129) to 16-18 (114) over a Brisbane side coached by Peter Knights which had started their time in the AFL with a win over North Melbourne at the MCG, a win over Geelong at Kardinia Park and a loss to StKilda at Moorabbin.

An official crowd of 17,795 saw the 3-2-1 Brownlow Medal votes go to Fitzroy’s Doug Barwick for seven goals, Brisbane’s Steve Reynoldson for 26 possessions at centre half back, and Fitzroy’s Paul Roos for 21 possessions in the same role at the opposite end of the ground.

Other standouts in what was the 197th game for boom Brisbane recruit Geoff Raines, formerly of Richmond, Collingwood and Essendon, were Fitzroy’s Richard Osborne, who kicked seven goals, and Brisbane’s Phil Walsh, who had a game-high 31 possessions.

It was the first of 242 AFL games played at what is now People First Stadium.

As Gold Coast host Collingwood in game #243 on Saturday they will celebrate the first 100-gamer on the one-time paddock turned 2018 Commonwealth Games home - David Swallow.

He leads the all-time games list at Carrara turned Metricon Stadium turned Heritage Bank Arena turned People First Stadium from Jarrod Harbrow (88), Touk Miller (80) and Alex Sexton (73).

It is a special honour, shared by just 19 players across the current AFL playing venues, including GWS 300-gamer Callan Ward, who holds the ground record at the Giants’ Sydney Showgrounds headquarters and their home-away-from-home at Eureka Stadium in Ballarat.

Games record-holders at each of the current AFL venues are:

MCG – Scott Pendlebury (Coll) 247
Marvel Stadium – Nick Riewoldt (StK) 184
Gabba – Simon Black (Bris) 170
SCG – Adam Goodes (Syd) 143
Kardinia Park – Ian Nankervis (Geel) 138
Adelaide Oval – Travis Boak (Port) 124
People First Stadium – David Swallow (GC) 99
Sydney Showgrounds – Callan Ward (WB/GWS) 78
Perth Stadium – Jack Darling (WC) 73
York Park (Launceston) – Luke Breust (Haw) 50
Bellerive Oval (Hobart) – Todd Goldstein (NM/Ess) 33
Manuka Oval (Canberra) – Callan Ward (WB/GWS) 32
Eureka Stadium (Ballarat) – Marcus Bontempelli (WB), Aaron Naughton (WB), Caleb Daniel (WB), Jack Macrae (WB) – 11
Marrara Oval (Darwin) – Kane Cornes (Port), Danyle Pearce (Port/Frem) 10
Traeger Park (Alice Springs) – Jack Viney (Melb) 10
Cazaly’s Stadium (Cairns) – Jarrod Harbrow (8)

Prior to the birth of the SUNS the games record at Carrara was held by inaugural Bears signing Brad Hardie (45) from ex-Bears captain Roger Merrett (44) and Bears teammates John Gastev (38), David Bain (35), Mike Richardson (35), Matthew Campbell (34), Martin Leslie (33), Mark Williams (32), Geoff Raines (32), David O’Keeffe (29) and Mark Roberts (29).

Swallow bettered that mark in the second home game after the 2018 Commonwealth Games on a forgettable night for the club. It was Round 13, when they led St Kilda by 31 points at three-quarter time and lost by two.

Swallow has played 99 of the SUNS’ 129 games at PFS. He played the first 11, 34 of the first 42, and after just two of 22 in 2015-16 due to injury, he missed the opening round of 2017 and since has played 64 of 65, missing Round 2 in 2020 through suspension.

He also holds the record for most wins at PFS, having enjoyed 39 wins of his 70 wins at home, and heads Miller (33), Lynch (32), Harbrow (30) and Sexton (29) for wins at the ground.

He’s polled 10 of his 25 Brownlow Medal votes at home and had eight of his 15 30-possesion games and his career-best four goals against Carlton in Round 23 last year.

His statistical averages are strikingly similar at home and away, averaging 19.89 possessions and 0.57 goals at PFS, and 19.90 possessions and 0.46 goals elsewhere.

And in his milestone games he had wins in his 50th and 200th at PFS and losses in his 100th at Perth Stadium and 150th in Darwin.

The ever-courageous midfielder also ranks equal 10th in all-time goal-kickers at PFS with 47, behind Tom Lynch (139), Brad Hardie (98), Roger Merrett (84), Alex Sexton (74), Gary Ablett (72), Ben Ainsworth (61), Brandon Matera (60), Charlie Dixon (57) and Sam Day (56), and level with Peter Wright (47).