Sydney senior coach John Longmire said the Swans failed to deliver their trademark “hardness” and competitive edge in the 40-point loss to the Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.
The Swans had one more inside 50 entry than the home team and only three less clearances and eight less disposals but were blown off the park by the more efficient Suns who kicked nine goals to two across the second and third terms.
Sydney were the darlings of the AFL after the first month with their stunning thrashing of premiers Richmond the highlight of the four-straight wins to open their 2021 campaign.
But after a spate of injuries and a loss to GWS in the Sydney derby, the Suns piled on the pressure, pain and points to rebound strongly from the humiliating defeat at the hands of the Western Bulldogs last week.
Longmire said his team was guilty of “terrible turnovers” and did not stand up to the Suns onslaught.
“I thought their (Gold Coast) pressure and intensity was superb. We actually had more inside 50s than them but our execution with ball in hand versus theirs was two different levels,’’ Longmire said.
“Their pressure was outstanding, but you need to absorb that, and you need to be able to move on with it and you need to give a bit back so we didn’t apply that same sort of pressure to them.
“It’s off the back of hardness and competing. It’s always off the back of that. You look at what we were doing early in the year, it was off the back of hardness and competing.
“If you compete hard, your skills follow on from that. It’s always been the case and always will be the case. If you are nice and hard and you get the hunt right, you hit your targets. It goes hand in glove generally.’’
Swans veteran duo Josh Kennedy (41 disposals, 22 contested possessions, 11 clearances, seven tackles, seven inside 50s) and Luke Parker (36 disposals, nine clearances, four inside 50s) battled manfully for Sydney but received little support at either end.
The Swans will continue to monitor George Hewett, who left the field in the first term with concussion while Nick Blakey suffered a bad cork in his right leg but played on. Logan McDonald played half a game in the VFL earlier in the day after being rested from the senior side.
HERE COME THE SUNS
Gold Coast senior coach Stuart Dew said it had been “a heavy week for all of us” after the loss to the Bulldogs but was delighted with the bounce back.
“When you play a first half like that (last week) you expect the heat to come, but you’ve got to absorb it. We felt the players absorbed that heat directly at halftime last week,’’ Dew said.
“This wasn’t won and lost today, the way they attacked post halftime, then Monday front up and get going again.
“We’ll say we’re not surprised because we felt it’s coming. I think it just showed we’ve got some grit, regardless of who’s in and out … there’s a blueprint there.”
Touk Miller (36 disposals, nine tackles, nine clearances, six inside 50s) and Noah Anderson (34 disposals, six clearances) were the midfield stars as the Suns claimed their first win over Sydney at Metricon Stadium.
Ben King had a career-high five-goal haul with Ben Ainsworth (three), Izak Rankine (two) and Josh Corbett (two) hitting the scoreboard multiple times.
Dew said the start of the week was a time of “reflection” for the coaching staff as much as anybody at the Suns.
“Sometimes you get caught in, ‘okay what are the players doing?’. Particularly Monday, Tuesday, we were like okay, how are we going about it? It was good to just pause, and I guess ask ourselves the right questions and look to get better,’’ he said.
“Just how we are going with our messaging, our training and all that and that’s why I think this win was started halftime last week, not at 1.45pm today.”