The Sydney Swans Have A Classy Response To Being Last On The AFL Ladder
The Swan dive many predicted for years has finally happened.
For just the second time in 26 years, the Sydney Swans languish dead last on the AFL ladder.
In fact, with coach John Longmire this week setting the record for most games as coach in the club's history (203, including both South Melbourne and Sydney), you'd have say they're LongMIRED at the foot of the ladder.
So why has this happened? Why is the most consistent club in footy looking like shot ducks?
There are a few key reasons.
The Swans have lost high quality players in recent years such as Tom Mitchell to Hawthorn, where he won a Brownlow. And Gary Rohan to Geelong, where he's playing fantastically well. And Dan Hannebery to St Kilda, where he's done precisely nothing due to injury. But Sydney definitely lack a bit of midfield grunt and zip without him.
Sydney also have the youngest team going round in the AFL right now. There's just a little too much inexperience at the club at the moment.
One or two of the oldies also aren't what they were. We won't mention names, but if we did, Buddy Franklin wouldn't be one of them. Buddy's still the king.
Also, as John Longmire himself said after the club's first loss to the Brisbane Lions in a decade on the weekend: "We were beaten around the ball again". Which has rarely been the case for the AFL's most committed ball-winners.
All of this means the Swans have a 1-6 win/loss record in season 2019 so far. Which is not good.
But give the club credit. They're not making excuses. In fact, they actually posted a photo of the team walking off the field looking miserable.
If you think about it, this is not a common thing for a club's social media team to do. After losses, they try to find positives. Maybe post highlights of the best player on a beaten team or something.
And yes, the Swans also did that.
But the Swans are also owning their poor form. And by posting that image of the dejected team with the words "get behind our boys", that's exactly fans are doing.
The tweet below is another example of the Swans embracing the pain, working with it and trying to move forward.
Yes, it's tough times for the Swans and their fans. But over the years, this team has built up a tremendous bank of goodwill. Consider that:
- The Swans have made the finals every year bar three in the past 23 seasons. Yes, 20 finals campaigns in 23 years. No other team comes close;
- They haven't missed finals footy since 2009, which means they've been there every year since John Longmire took over in 2011;
- They've won two premierships over their prolonged period of success -- in 2005 and 2012;
- In 2017, the Swans hit rock bottom in round five after losing their first five games. Yet they still recovered to make the finals in 6th place.
Can the men in red-and-white emulate the 2017 recovery this year? Unlikely. Apart from one or two superstars, their all-round list just doesn't look strong enough. Finals 2019 appear a forlorn dream.
But unlike when this club had a prolonged period as cellar-dwellers with near empty stands in the early 1990s, at least you know they'll still get a crowd.