Sydney young gun Oliver Florent has provided a damning assessment of Thursday night's 22-point defeat to Melbourne, admitting team values were abandoned in favour of "individual" pursuits in the second half.
But Florent remains utterly defiant about the Swans' chances this year despite the prevailing view from pundits that club's era of dominance has come to an end.
Sydney's season is teetering on the brink of disaster after slumping to a 1-3 record after the first four rounds. Florent's 25-possession, two-goal performance was one of very few positives to come out of the loss to the Demons, who completely dominated the midfield battle after half-time to overrun a Swans side unable to turn the tide.
"We thought we were going to come out in the second half and it was just going to happen, when obviously you've got to put out the same amount of effort," Florent told the Herald.
"They came out really tough, we knew they were going to come out tough and we didn't really respond. We got smacked around the footy … we went away from (playing as) a team and there were a lot of individuals out there in the second half.
"We can't continue to go away from what we know works. We can't continue to play 65 minutes of football when other teams are playing four quarters."
He's a big out … we're going to have to do something about that very quickly.
Oliver Florent on Jarrad McVeigh's absence
Sydney have made the finals in 20 of the last 23 seasons and the last nine in a row. For years they have proved the exception to the AFL rule that teams who spend years at the top will eventually tumble down the ladder and bottom out.
But media personalities including Garry Lyon and Tim Watson suggested on Friday the Melbourne defeat was more evidence that the Swans are no longer the regular force they once were. With 70 per cent of their list aged 24 or under and some of their top-line players failing to fire, they look on course for a lean campaign.
The Swans have been here before. Two years ago they were 0-6 but recovered to reach the semi-finals, although few outside the club's inner sanctum believe they have the capacity to turn things around to that extent again.
"We've obviously had a great decade or so and I can't see why we can't keep going forward," Florent said. "It's on us. We're not going to let anyone else tell us what we can or can't do.
"We have a strong belief that we're one of the best teams in the comp. We've just got to go out there and show it."
The Swans will have more than a week to stew on their most recent loss before their next match away to Richmond, who will welcome back Dustin Martin after a one-game suspension. AfteRead More – Source