Swans used to dealing with off-field

They’ve had 12 months littered with off-field distractions, but Sydney’s AFL focus rarely wavers.

Michael Talia’s arrest last Sunday was the latest in a series of incidents to have rocked the Swans stretching back to the final week of July last year.

Back then, club icon Adam Goodes opted to take a week off after relentless booing from opposing supporters over several weeks.

The debate over his actions had barely subsided before the club’s other indigenous superstar Lance Franklin missed the club’s finals campaign due to a mental health issue.

Fast forward into the current campaign and the club enjoyed a relatively uneventful first half of the campaign before the calendar again clicked into July.

The leadup to the round 16 game at Geelong was dominated by the revelation of a feud within the family of co-captain Kieren Jack.

A patchy run of form reading loss-win-loss-win-loss was followed by the news that injured off-season recruit Talia had been charged with being in possession of a quantity of a prohibited substance and will appear in court next month.

For a club that prides itself on it’s professionalism and positive image it was another blow and unwanted distraction.

The Swans have long been regarded as one of the cleanskins of Australian sport, a supremely well run club with a strong player-driven culture and one that rarely generates a negative headline.

However, if recent history has taught us anything, it’s that the resilient Swans are rarely blown off course for long by gusts of off-field turbulence.

If anything, adversity hardens their resolve.

The game Goodes opted to miss ended in an emotion-charged 52-point win over Adelaide in front of their largest home crowd of the season.

In their first game after losing Franklin they were ferociously competitive in a nine-point away loss to minor premiers Fremantle.

The Swans capacity to push distractions aside and produce a performance of laser-like intensity was evident again earlier this month.

After days of headlines about the Jack family dispute they produced one of their best performances of recent times in a memorable 38-point victory at Geelong.

All of which suggests that Carlton better be beware and brace for a fiercely focused Sydney side at the SCG on Saturday, as the Swans seek to generate positive on-field vibes in pursuit of a high ladder position and a seventh straight finals campaign.

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