Sydney carried too many passengers in the AFL grand final, with coach John Longmire lamenting his side’s dip in work-rate.
The Swans booted seven goals in the opening quarter of knock-out final wins over Adelaide and Geelong to claim their spot in the season decider.
But at the MCG on Saturday, they trailed by four points at quarter-time, having kicked a single goal in the opening term.
Momentum continued to ebb and flow until late in the fourth quarter, with Josh Kennedy, Tom Mitchell and Dane Rampe doing their best to deliver the Swans victory.
Longmire conceded the minor premiers simply didn’t have enough players firing to beat the Western Bulldogs.
“The Bulldogs’ consistency over their 22 compared to us, we didn’t have probably as many contributors on the day – which you need to have if you’re going to be victorious,” Longmire said.
“You need everyone with their shoulder to the grindstone. We didn’t have that even contribution that we definitely needed.
“We thought we could get a bit more from a few more (in the second half) and that we could lift.
“We were obviously hoping for that but it didn’t eventuate.”
Forwards Ben McGlynn, Gary Rohan, Xavier Richards and Kurt Tippett were among those to have quiet games.
Co-captain Jarrad McVeigh and Rising Star winner Callum Mills, who both returned from injury at the MCG, were also below their best.
“They got through fine, as we expected them to,” Longmire said, when asked if either of them was restricted.
“We probably needed to work a little bit harder, a bit more consistently over the four quarters.
“We weren’t quite up to the work-rate that we normally get from our group … once you get here, you need to make the most of every opportunity.”
Longmire noted players and coaches shared fans’ “extreme disappointment” but it was important to maintain perspective.
An upbeat Aliir Aliir, who suffered a knee injury in the preliminary final and was an enforced omission, helped in that regard.
Aliir was in the rooms, offering support to distraught teammates.
“We talk about perspective and resilience. We had a bloke that didn’t play today because he was out injured,” Longmire said.
“He’s probably taught a few of us, including the coach, about resilience. We probably need to take a note out of that book.”