Sydney defender Nick Smith concedes the AFL’s minor premiers have a lot to work on after they were outwilled and outworked in week one of the finals.
The Swans suffered an upset 36-point loss to Greater Western Sydney, consigning them to a semi-final against Adelaide at the SCG on Saturday.
John Longmire’s side were flag favourites last week but now face the prospect of a straight-sets exit for the second year in a row.
Smith was one of the Swans’ best at ANZ Stadium, nailing a couple of goal-saving tackles amid the Giants’ regular forays forward.
But Sydney’s defence were unable to deal with the speed and precision at which the ball regularly came into their domain – a result of GWS’s midfield dominance.
“To be brutally honest I reckon they wanted it more than we did,” Smith told AAP.
“They out-tackled us … they had almost 40 more tackles than us.
“I can’t explain it. It’s pretty ordinary.
“It was disappointing what we dished up.
“We didn’t deliver our best and they played well, they got the win and deserved it.”
The 28-year-old noted it was important his side analyse the defeat but quickly refocus on their clash with the Crows.
“The season’s not over for us. We’ll lick our wounds, no doubt we’re disappointed but we’ve got to learn from it and be better than we were,” Smith said.
“The message from (Longmire) is we have a lot to improve on and we’ve got to change it pretty quickly.
“We’ll learn from our mistakes, get back on the horse and come out next week raring to go.”
Sydney don’t have to look too far into the past for a precedent.
Hawthorn lost their qualifying final against West Coast in Perth last year then thumped the Eagles in the grand final.
“You work hard all year for a second chance and this is why. We need it,” Smith said.
“We’ve got to make the most of it.”
Smith added it would be wrong to attribute his side’s patchy performance against GWS to the pre-finals bye.
“The week off is a little bit irrelevant in that if you bring the right attitude and that kind of thing it doesn’t really matter if you’ve had a bye or not,” he said.