THE Swans 0-5 start to the year is their worst in 24 years and if history is a guide their finals hopes are shot.
Of the 24 teams that have lost the opening five matches of the season none have made the top eight. North Melbourne in 1975 are the only team in the last 60 years to start that badly and play finals, they went on to win their first premiership.
Right now the Swans are like a car which is getting old, there are a lot of little things going wrong which affect other parts of the vehicle.
These are some of the repairs they need to make if they are any chance of seeing September action.
The Swans success over the last two decades has been built on the back of winning contested football. They were thrashed by the Giants in that area 142-108 which gave them virtually no chance of winning. Their stars Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery have all been down in this area and need to lift.
Kurt Tippett is struggling badly and was belted by former Swan Shane Mumford last week who won the Brett Kirk Medal for his dominant display.
Mumford took on Tippett and his second ruck Callum Sinclair and beat them 62-29 in the hit outs which helped GWS to a 42-26 win at the stoppages. There is little hope for Kennedy, Parker and Hannebery when their rucks aren’t getting first hand on the ball.
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Lance Franklin, Sam Reid and Will Hayward have been kicking goals but they are not getting their usual supply of goals from the midfield with less than two per game coming from the on-ballers.
It’s a symptom of them being on the back foot from clearances and midfielders using up all their energy running back defensively.
The Swans have been one of the stingiest backlines in the AFL for a long time but have clearly suffered from the long term injuries of Dane Rampe (broken arm) and Jarrad McVeigh (calf).
Rampe is their best defender and usually manages to negate the opposition’s best forward. McVeigh is one of the best ball distributors in the AFL and the Swans have badly missed his organisational skills.
Coming off a season where the Swans debuted seven players they have played another six in the first five rounds this year. That lack of experience has told in pressure situations where mistakes in skill and judgment have been all too common.
The absence of McVeigh has also led to the ball being turned over regularly coming out of defence which has put the backline under enormous pressure.