What goes up must come down – and Sydney are finding this out the hard way.
The Swans’ premiership hopes took a further dive on Sunday when they crashed to a 52-point loss to West Coast at Domain Stadium.
Already missing injured spearhead Kurt Tippett, Sydney were dealt another blow before the match when Lance Franklin pulled out because of back tightness.
It left the Swans without their two main forward targets, but in the end it was their midfield that copped the biggest walloping in the 15.13 (103) to 7.9 (51) defeat.
The heavy loss comes just a week after Sydney copped an 89-point hiding at the hands of Hawthorn.
With three losses in their past five games, Sydney are on the slide, but coach John Longmire isn’t panicking just yet.
“We worry about what we can control,” Longmire said.
“There might be a two or three week period where one team is written off, and one team is looking like a premiership chance. But it tends to change.
“We need to make sure we keep focusing on our improvement areas.”
With just six rounds remaining, West Coast are sitting pretty in second spot.
And with their midfield firing on all cylinders, they are a genuine chance to knock off premiership rivals Fremantle and Hawthorn over the next month.
Collingwood’s losing streak is up to five and they are now a game outside the top eight after suffering an 18-point loss to the Bulldogs.
But coach Nathan Buckley is adamant their confidence has not wilted.
“We’ve taken some leaps early this season really quickly and when you plateau on that growth we’re all a little bit impatient aren’t we? Including the coach and the players,” he said.
“But we’re doing a lot of things right – it’s just getting the little things right to be able to take that next step.
“Whether that takes a week or a month or a season is up to us.”
Also on Sunday, St Kilda adapted better to wet and cold conditions at the MCG to beat Melbourne by 37 points.
Paddy Ryder starred in his first game against his old club Essendon, kicking four goals on Saturday night as Port Adelaide won by 13 points.
Also on Saturday night, North Melbourne celebrated Brent Harvey’s 400th match with a 72-point belting of Brisbane at the ‘Gabba.
But Kangaroos captain Andrew Swallow will face video scrutiny for a high bump on Lions opponent James Aish.
Fremantle led for less than 10 minutes at the MCG, but David Mundy ensured they were in front when it counted.
A disastrous kick-in by Bachar Houli set up Mundy for the match-winning goal, with the Dockers scraping through by four points.
Adelaide stayed in control of their finals destiny, beating Gold Coast at home on Saturday by 45 points.
Gary Ablett’s season could be over after the Suns captain hurt his knee in the first term.
Geelong moved to within half a game of eighth spot with their 27-point win over GWS in Canberra.
Carlton suffered the biggest losing margin in their 151-year history on Friday night in their 138-point loss to Hawthorn.