Good morning all, it's Tuesday and time for the latest instalment of The Swans Blog's podcast, the SwansCast. This week I'm joined by Rowan from BigFooty and we dissect the weekend that was.
The way the season ended on Friday night was tough to take, given the progress the team made throughout the season. It was a truly bizarre performance with so much going wrong.
On a night when the Swans were so heavily favoured to win and extend their stunning season revival, the result and performance was diametrically opposite from their recent form. It was so far removed that it stunned everyone. There wasn't any banter at the ground, none of the usual ribbing that opposition supporters give one another.
Geelong supporters were shocked and rightly so. They didn't exactly turn out in huge numbers, but 55 thousand watched the Cats upset the apple cart in stunning fashion. Speaking to Geelong supporters online and in person, most had resigned themselves to being on the receiving end, and wanted to cheer off Lonergan and Mackay. When they got on top they were quietly optimising and even at half time with the game looking as good as over, they didn't start celebrating.
I've spent a lot of time reflecting on what could have gone so wrong for a team to dish up a performance like that. I draw on my limited coaching knowledge when I think about it, and I draw several conclusions. The one thing that's clear is that they were mentally shot.
Geelong played the loose in defence, so the Swans went the extra at the contests, but the way they were moving the ball out wasn't working, and that extra had no impact. When they did get it, they just threw it on the boot without direction or looking, and even did it when they had time to hit up targets.
Nicholls did his best to level the game, giving them some ridiculous free kicks, including a shocking call to bring the ball back from advantage after they kicked a point - that isn't a rule. Dangerfield was giving Rampe all kinds of problems, but by the time the match was 20 minutes old the Swans were struggling to move the ball out of defence, while the Cats were getting all kinds of opportunities whenever they went forward.
There was a bit of "here we go again" late in the first quarter and the heads dropped. They came out at the start of the 2nd quarter like they'd never left the huddle, and in the blink of an eye the match was over. Having played 17 elimination finals in a row, the pressure to make the finals in the first place was enormous, let alone expectations of making it through to the preliminary final.
While a loss like that in isolation is extremely disappointing, it's not entirely surprising after a season like that. Making the finals after 0-6 was a historical achievement, but to then flog the Bombers and set a new AFL/VFL record in the process was amazing. Mrs blogs made a great point before the match that she'd rather lose the semi than the prelim, and rather lose the semi by a big margin than a small margin, so that the club, fans and media avoid the "hype".
She's right too, everyone's jumped off the Swans and the metaphorical monkey's are off their backs. There's the usual "he sucks in the finals" conversations on social media, BigFooty, Red & White and print media. Lloyd said yesterday that Rohan should never play another final. Slobbo said yesterday that Sydney's season is a failure. The vitriol directed at Franklin after the match calling him a failure with the Swans, all the usual rubbish that you get, even the call for Tippett to have played.
That match is done and gone, like a puff of dust in the books of history, and now we move on and look forward to season 2018. Significant progress was made in areas that needed it, despite several disappointing performances. After a shocking pre-season the fact the Swans turned it around is stunning itself. Just remember, no team ever made the finals after losing their first six games.
Anyway, make sure to stick with us during the off-season as we bring you all the latest Swans news and opinion content.
Brendan Weller, Heather Quinlan and Myles Stedman will be joining us as semi-regular contributors, while Brendan is running his ruler over the squad in a 3-part series. I've posted the first article in a 5-part series reviewing the season, so make sure you give that a read and relive the spectacular memories of the pre-season.
In this weeks' episode I'm joined by Rowan from BigFooty and we discuss the Swans' performance on Friday night, the weekends results, we look ahead to the grand final and run our rulers over the Swans' history making season.
We'll be back next week despite the Swans being out of the finals and we'll still be here after the grand final. We'll be taking it easy during the off-season, but we'll let you know before hand!
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