The alarm bells were ringing loud and clear very early for Geelong coach Chris Scott on Friday night at Simonds Stadium.
And apart from a spell of ascendancy in the second quarter, they kept ringing.
Sydney ended up winning the AFL top-four clash by 38 points, consigning the Cats to a second straight loss.
“There are a lot of parts of our game that were well and truly off,” said Scott after the 15.8 (98) to 9.6 (60) defeat.
“We’ve got some serious areas we need to work on.
“There’s a clear pattern now of poor performance and even though we’ve got some guys playing well, we’ve got too many who are down.
“I think the first five minutes was quite alarming.
“The opposition just looked a lot cleaner than us and played the conditions a lot better.”
Geelong’s recast attack could only muster nine majors, with Dan Menzel (two goals) the only forward to provide a consistent threat.
The Swans also dominated the midfield exchanges, despite Patrick Dangerfield accumulating 18 possessions in the first quarter and and ending the match with 34.
“I thought Dangerfield was really good but there were problems with his game as well,” Scott said.
“We’ve got some clear flaws that are not hard for us to identify.
“Our midfield collectively was beaten.
“We know when we play our style we can beat some good teams as we have done this year and when we don’t play so well we look really average.
“Belief can be a bit of false bravado sometimes.
“We need to be realists and the reality for us is we’ve got a lot of work to do to compete with the very best teams.”
The Cats were in second spot on the ladder going into Friday night’s match but could well tumble outside the top four by the conclusion of round 16.
Their next challenge is away to Fremantle in another Friday night encounter.