Sydney stalwart Dane Rampe played finals in each of his first six seasons at the AFL club.
At that point, the Swans had missed September action just once in 16 years and claimed two flags from five grand finals in the process.
Now, after successive years outside the top eight in 2019-20, a new wave of 'Young Bloods' is driving Sydney back towards the top of the ladder.
Jordan Dawson, Tom McCartin, Justin McInerney and Will Hayward are just some of a raft of Swans who have taken big strides forward in 2021, with Chad Warner and Errol Gulden outstanding in their debut seasons.
And their sights are set on a top-four spot as they prepare for a Sydney derby with a twist against GWS at Gold Coast's Metricon Stadium on Sunday.
"I'm really excited with where the group's at, particularly after a couple of lean years and experiencing what it's like out of the finals," Rampe said.
"Getting that hunger back and watching these new guys come in and thrive in high-pressure games is really exciting.
"It gives me a lot of pride and a lot of joy seeing them fulfil their potential.
"It's a new set of circumstances, but one that we're really enjoying and embracing as much as we can."
Sydney have named an unchanged line-up for Sunday after last week's upset win over the Western Bulldogs - their second successive victory over a top-eight rival.
Meanwhile, Giants captain Stephen Coniglio is back at AFL level after a long absence with an ankle injury and two weeks regaining his fitness in the VFL.
Matt Flynn and Xavier O'Halloran also return, with Lachie Whitfield (concussion) and Shane Mumford (back) injured, Bobby Hill managed and Lachie Ash dropped from the side that suffered a shock one-point defeat to Gold Coast last week.
GWS star Josh Kelly expects Coniglio's first appearance since round three to give the side a significant boost in their pursuit of a finals berth.
"He's had a big impact off the field and that's something that doesn't get noticed by the outside world when he's not in the team, but he's consistently been able to help those around him," Kelly said.
"To have him back out on the field is a big lift for us and it's great to play alongside him.
The 21st Sydney derby was rescheduled multiple times because of COVID-19 issues.
Originally set for Giants Stadium, it was moved to Ballarat when the Swans and Giants were temporarily based in Melbourne, then switched to the Gold Coast when the two NSW clubs were rushed up to Queensland on Wednesday.
GWS have won four of their last five meetings with Sydney, including a two-point triumph at the SCG in round five.