Swans claw way out of dark­ness

The Observer - - SPORT AFL - — Neil Cordy

SYD­NEY’S year has been a tale of two sea­sons, rounds 1-6 (The dark ages) and rounds 7-14 (The re­nais­sance)

If the Swans beat Mel­bourne tonight they will be back on level peg­ging at 7-7 and at least tem­po­rar­ily in the eight.

It’s a sit­u­a­tion which was unimag­in­able two months ago when lowly Carl­ton hum­bled them at the MCG. The fall from grace was com­plete, last time they had played at the G was on grand fi­nal day, now they were rock bot­tom and the only win­less team in the com­pe­ti­tion.

The only con­so­la­tion was they couldn’t fall any fur­ther and the only di­rec­tion avail­able was up. So how did they get here? The first thing was not pan­ick­ing, John Long­mire knew go­ing into the sea­son they were thin on tal­ent and were in for a rough ride.

“There are the con­trol­lable and the un­con­trol­lable and the un­con­trol­lable was the in­juries to se­nior play­ers,” Long­mire said.

“We openly dis­cussed that go­ing into the sea­son and we know it was go­ing to be a prob­lem and it was al­ways go­ing to be a tough start for us. It was tougher than we hoped but we un­der­stood where we’re at and in the end it’s a re­minder we need to bring our best ev­ery week re­gard­less of who’s play­ing.”

The charge back to the top has been led by the team’s barom­e­ter Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Dan Han­nebery.

Former Swans and most re­cently Mel­bourne coach Paul Roos says the en­gine room will be where tonight’s con­test is de­cided.

“Mel­bourne’s work around the ball is get­ting more and more con­sis­tent,” Roos said.

“You have to do that against Syd­ney and if you don’t you’re in mas­sive trou­ble. They are more ready to take on Syd­ney than they have been in the past. We weren’t con­sis­tent enough in the past. A lot of games are de­cided on pure tal­ent when it’s so close, Josh Kennedy was a per­fect ex­am­ple last week against Essendon. That’s where Mel­bourne have caught up. Tal­ented play­ers can make things out of noth­ing.”

PHOTO: RYAN PIERSE/GETTY

CLIMB­ING UP: Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker have been key play­ers in the Swans’ change of form.

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