A grow­ing prob­lem keep­ing pace for Swans’ mid­field

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT - GIL­BERT GAR­DINER

FOR­MER St Kilda mid­fielder Leigh Mon­tagna has ques­tioned whether Syd­ney’s once vaunted mid­field brigade is able to cope with the speed of the mod­ern game.

Swans ex­trac­tors Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Daniel Han­nebery failed to fire a shot on Fri­day night as Ade­laide ba­si­cally led from siren to siren at the SCG. Three-time All Aus­tralian and Swans best-and­fairest Kennedy had just six dis­pos­als to half­time, the equal low­est half­time tally in 196 games for Syd­ney.

Kennedy fin­ished with 13 dis­pos­als, four clear­ances and eight tack­les un­der close watch from Crows mid­field­ers Cameron El­lis-Yol­men and Richard Dou­glas. Han­nebery and Parker had 18 and 17 dis­pos­als re­spec­tively in the Swans’ sec­ond home loss of the sea­son.

“I’m won­der­ing whether maybe even the speed of the game has caught up to a few of them,” Mon­tagna told Triple M.

“They’re not the quick­est guys … they’re all big bod­ies, they’re all strong, it’s an in­ter­est­ing one, and they’ve got a lit­tle bit of soul search­ing to do.

“They’ve been pretty re­liant on Buddy a lot this year and cer­tainly the mid­field are out of touch.”

With the game on the line at the SCG on Fri­day night Kennedy strug­gled to break­away from con­ges­tion.

The 209- game bull is av­er­ag­ing 22 dis­pos­als, 12 con­tested pos­ses­sions, 6.2 clear­ances and 5.5 tack­les — his low­est tal­lies since 2011 — across five games.

“Ap­par­ently he’s not in­jured or any­thing like that, he’s just strug­gling,” Mon­tagna said.

The Swans have mixed their form so far this sea­son.

Syd­ney's Josh Kennedy.

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