Talking points: Round 2, 2019

We take a look at some of the talking points from the Swans' round 2 loss to the Adelaide Crows at the SCG on Friday night.

1: One-paced midfield short on numbers
Just as they did in the first round of football, the Swans kicked the first goal of the game after a promising, if not exciting first 10 minutes. Continuing to emulate their previous effort, their opponents - in this case the Crows - ran rampant for the rest of the quarter.

A fight back through the second and third quarters gave the Swans fans cause for hope, but a two goal blast at the end of the third quarter broke their spirits.

While Josh Kennedy was at his dominant best, with 36 disposals, over 500 metres gained, 16 contested possessions, 13 score involvements, 2 goal assists and 8 clearances, the next best was a long way off.

The drop off to the third best was even more severe, with George Hewett, Harry Cunningham, Zak Jones and Isaac Heeney having virtually no impact in the midfield, while Tom Papley's best work came in the opening half.

2: Franklin's lone act can't last
Despite very little training last season and missing several games of football, he almost won the Coleman medal and was the All Australian Captain.

Half a year later, he's still barely training and despite the best efforts of the Swans coaching staff to cobble a forward line together, he's still doing all the heavy lifting himself.

Sam Reid is playing as though he missed a year of football, Ben Ronke is a long way off match fitness, while Nick Blakey is as raw as they come.

The only saving grace has been Will Hayward, but even then he's still getting the third best defender.

3: Sydney has a pressure problem
The Swans in the opening two rounds, while showing promising - if not inconsistent - presence at the contest, their ability to compete once the ball has left the area has been poor, represented in their tackling numbers.

At one point in both opening matches, their opponents had either doubled their tackle numbers, or were very close to doing so.

The pressure was so low against Adelaide, it was only their inaccurate goal kicking that kept the Swans within range of a comeback.

4: Defensive depth hurting the Swans
When Jack Maibaum went down with a season-ending ACL injury, it was expected the Swans would pick up a defender from the state leagues.

Instead, they picked up Hayden McLean, a 194cm forward, to go with an abundance of forwards the Swans already have in Sam Reid (196cm), Lance Franklin (199cm), Nick Blakey (194cm), Tom McCartin (194cm), Joel Amartey (197) and Toby Pink (193).

With Heath Grundy injured and missing the second round of football, Lewis Melican was left to take on Adelaide's forward duo Tex Walker and Josh Jenkins.

Another injury to the Swans already stretched-thin depleted defence unit will break the metaphorical back.

5: The SCG is no longer the fortress it once was
Despite a horrid start to the 2017 season, losing their first 6 games, the Swans only lost one more home game that season - a 10-point loss to the Hawks in Round 10.

Their average winning margin after Round 6 was 57.5 points, with a 104-point win against Fremantle in Round 21, 81-point win against Carlton in Round 23 and the 65-point Elimination Final win against Essendon.

Since Round 1, 2018, the Swans have won 5 of 13 home games, with the biggest win by 59-points over Fremantle in Round 9, 2018.

During their 2017 run, the Swans scored less than 100 points on three occasions, but since Round 1, 2018, the Swans have scored 100 or more points on two occasions - Round 3, 2018 against the GWS Giants and Round 9, 2018 against Fremantle.

Their recent SCG form has been so bad, they're scoring 38.5 points less than 2017, while conceding 14.5 points more per game. Their score differential in 2017 was 50.4 points per game, while it has been -2.5 points per game since the start of 2018 (13 games).

6: Goalless quarters are sinking the Swans
The first two matches of 2019 have seen two 1-goal quarters and two goalless quarters by the Swans. Virtually out of the game by the end of the first half against the Bulldogs, they threatened to storm home with 8 of 11 goals either side of the final break.

It was the same story against the Crows, kicking just one goal in the opening quarter, before going goalless in the third quarter, while the Crows opened up a game-winning lead.

The Swans have gone goalless for one quarter in their last three games, with 8 overall in 2018, most notably their Round 13 clash against the West Coast Eagles, their goalless half against the Suns in Round 18 and the Elimination Final against the GWS Giants.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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