The ghosts of season past have come back to haunt the Swans on Friday night, unable to shake off another sluggish start in their 26 point loss to the Adelaide Crows on Friday night.
While the Crows managed to get on the winners list for the first time this season, the loss leaves Sydney 0-2 and raises serious questions over their ability to compete come September.
In a tight, nervy contest, the Crows were better for much of the night, keeping the Swans at arm-length after taking the lead midway through the first quarter.
After Franklin booted his third goal to reduce the margin to 17-points in the last quarter, Riley Knight steadied for the visitors, with David MacKay sealing the match a minute later after a shocking centre bounce, to claim a 12.10 (82) to 8.14 (62) win.
On a slippery night in Sydney, Adelaide proved the cleaner of the two sides, with Rory Atkins (21 disposals) having as much influence as anyone on the ground, while Brad Crouch (26 disposals, 5 tackles) and Matt Crouch (24 disposals, 7 clearances) were prolific.
After nine straight behinds between the teams in the third quarter, Adelaide's two goals in as many minutes, opened up a 23-point margin at the final break.
Two quick goals by the Swans were immediately answered by the Crows, eventually breaking Sydney's resistance.
Already gaining a reputation as slow starters, the Swans burst from the blocks with the first goal of the game.
With Rory Sloane and Rory Atkins on top in the midfield battle, the Crows failed to capitalise on their ascendency, kicking 4.5 for the quarter.
A quarter time rocket breathed new life into the Swans, with small forward-come-midfielder Tom Papley thrown into the midfield, having an immediately impact.
Papley's clearance and the quick kick inside 50 was marked by Nick Blakey deep in the forward pocket, outpointing his opponent with a superb contested mark.
Lance Franklin, well held by Daniel Talia in the first quarter, found enough space to work his magic, booting two goals, one from a narrow angle on the boundary.
Adelaide dominated the disposals (+20), inside 50s (+5) and contested possessions (+15) in the first quarter, but the Swans turned it around in the second quarter with 19 more contested possessions and 4 more clearances.
The free kick count was already lopsided before the third quarter (2-10) kicked off, with the umpires heaping more misery on the Swans once the game restarted.
The umpires whacked the ill disciplined and confused Swans with three 50 metre penalties - one of which was a 100 metre penalty.
A succession of incorrectly paid free kicks, missed free kicks, and downright howlers halted any momentum the Swans built.
It was worse in the final quarter, with a shocking centre bounce gifting the Crows an easy centre clearance, while at the other end Sam Reid and Lance Franklin were regularly scragged off the ball with little reward.
Franklin played a lone hand in the forward line all night, booting his third goal of the night after a staggering flop.
Before the match started, Sydney's favourite personality Eddie McGuire ripped into double-amputee Cynthia Banham, who had the honour of tossing the coin.
She had both legs amputated following a plane crash, and appeared to struggle to stand with a walking stick while tossing the coin.
“I think we should introduce a $5000 fine to anybody who’s tossing the coin and can’t do it properly,” begins a clearly oblivious McGuire.
“Every week, we have someone dropping it on their foot. Come on, toss it up properly, for goodness sake. Practise in the week, you know you’re going to do it. It can’t be that hard can it, guys?”
The Swans return to Melbourne to take on the Carlton Blues at Marvel Stadium in Round 3, looking for their first win of the season.
SYDNEY 1.2 6.6 6.10 8.14 (62)
ADELAIDE 4.5 6.10 9.15 12.16 (88)
Adelaide: Sam Jacobs received treatment for a rolled ankle
SYDNEY Franklin (3), Hayward (2), Reid, Blakey, Ronke
ADELAIDE Knight (2), MacKay (2), Jenkins (2), Betts, Lynch, Seedsman, Atkins, Walker, B. Crouch
SYDNEY Kennedy, Parker, Aliir, Franklin, Sinclair
ADELAIDE Sloane, M. Crouch, B. Crouch, Milera, Jenkins
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