The Swans were left to rue a dreadful first half in their round 5, 10-point loss to the Crows on Friday night at the SCG.
The Crows entered the game with a length injury list, especially a decimated midfield with Sloane and the Crouch brothers missing, as well as Eddie Betts and Tex Walker under an injury cloud.
With the Swans heavily favoured, it was the Crows that hit the ground running, kicking 4.9 (33) in the first quarter and running rampant, virtually unchecked.
The Swans struggled to move the ball out of their defence as the Crows employed an attacking press, and tagged Luke Parker, Dan Hannebery and Josh Kennedy.
Ruckman Sam Jacobs dominated the ruck in the opening half, with 7-to-3 hit-outs to advantage, as well as leading Callum Sinclair by 8 hit-outs.
For two weeks in a row, the Swans were guilty of making uncharacteristic mistakes in defence, with five of the Crows first nine goals scored from free kicks or 50 metre penalties.
The Swans midfield was well down on their lofty standards throughout the night, especially in the first half, with Parker and Heeney taking more than a quarter to register their first kick.
At half-time, the stats certainly reflected the Crows dominance, and if it wasn’t for wayward kicking, they may well have been out of sight.
Captain Josh Kennedy registered just 6 disposals to half-time, along with leaders Parker (4), Hannebery (8), Heeney (6), Jones (9) and Franklin (5) struggling to not only get the ball but make an impact on the match at all.
The Swans turned the match around in the third quarter, dominating possession and field position, with more than 80% of the quarter spent in their attacking half.
But for all their attacking verve and pressure, they never reaped the rewards on the scoreboard, with several atrocious umpiring decisions – and non-decisions – costing them dearly.
Harry Cunningham snapped the first goal of the quarter for the Swans on the run, reducing the margin to 10 points.
Gary Rohan snapped his first goal of the match in the third quarter, to the delight of the Swans faithful, and was surrounded by his team mates in an emotional celebration.
The Crows defence was resolute and disciplined, while the Swans continued to turn the ball over and kick to outnumbered contests.
Kennedy started working his way into the match and getting his hands on the ball, but it was too little too late once Paul Seedsman kicked the last goal of the quarter.
The Crows exploded out of the blocks in the last quarter, kicking the first three goals and extending their margin to a game-high 27-points.
Gary Rohan kicked his second of the match, but the margin was too great for the Swans, who continued to waste opportunities directly in front of goal, scoring 2 goals from their last 7 scores, all of which were the last scores in the match.
The Swans travel to Kardinia Park to face the Geelong Cats, their nemesis from last years’ finals series. The Swans have won their last two meetings at Kardinia Park, but with form and fitness issues throughout the midfield, there’s a big question mark if they can get the job done.
SYDNEY 3.3 6.6 8.9 10.15 (75)
ADELAIDE 4.9 8.10 9.12 12.13 (85)
Rohan (2), Cunningham, Florent, Franklin, Jack, Towers, Hewett, Heeney, Jones
Jones, Rampe, Lloyd, Heeney, McVeigh
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