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Hawthorn, Sydney handed demoralising losses

There comes a point in every football era when you have to draw a line and say it's over — and for Hawthorn and Sydney we have definitely reached that point.
The signs have been there, but St Kilda's storming of the Hawks' fortress in Tasmania for a 75-point victory and the Blues' stunning 19-point win at the MCG have now made things crystal clear.


Hawthorn had been hammered by the critics for their opening four losses, with the Hawks looking old, slow and out of touch.
Then they bounced back to beat West Coast by 50 points at the MCG, but it begged the question; was this just a flash in the pan, or a sign Hawthorn could truly rebound?
Up against a Saints side in the Hawks' Tassie home of Launceston, there was a chance of a further recovery.
But that went out the window on a dirty day for Hawthorn as St Kilda had 35 scoring shots to the Hawks' 15 in a crushing win.
By the third term, it was more reminiscent of Hawthorn's horrible third-round loss to Gold Coast at Carrara, as the more nimble Saints moved the ball faster, were harder at the contest and got players out the back at will to an embarrassing extent.

Jade Gresham, Josh Bruce and Tim Membrey were all left in an acre of space to kick easy goals in the space of nine minutes, as the Hawks' effort flattened out once again.
The Saints, who just three seasons ago went 4-18 and are now in the eight, out-possessed and out-tackled Hawthorn. The effort from the Hawks was just not there.
For the Saints, Nick Riewoldt was the oldest man on the field, but he showed more at 34 than most of the Hawks, booting 4.0 and racking up 20 disposals.
Coach Alastair Clarkson was blunt about the state of his side after the match.
"We were beaten by a hungrier and more polished side," he said

The Swans were winless going into round six, but some pundits said John Longmire's men had the potential to win their next five games against beatable opponents, beginning with Carlton.
It didn't pan out that way at the MCG. There was not much between the teams, statistics-wise, but that in itself said something as the Swans playing at anything near their best should have accounted for the Blues.
In their pomp, Sydney would have come out after half-time (leading by eight points) and crushed resistance, kicking two or three goals to set up the win.

"In this situation you don't look to the finals because it is just so far away. We just need to get better this week."
The Swans are 0-6 and in deep mire. The last time things were this bad (and they were a lot worse then) was in 1993, when Gary Buckenara was sacked after round three with Sydney having lost an 18th consecutive game.
Sydney went on to lose another eight in a row and 16 of the next 17 games, to bottom out on 1-21.
That Sydney team then went 4-18, 8-14 and then made the grand final in year three, the first under new coach Rodney Eade. But it involved a lot of pain to get there.



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