AFL: Without a win in 2017, the Sydney Swans NEED to kick start their season against cross-town rivals GWS.
THE Swans are on the cusp of going 0-5 should they lose to GWS on Saturday night but Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton says you would be a fool to right off the red and whites.
Of the 24 teams which started the year 0-4 since 2000, none have gone on to make the finals. In the last 50 years only North Melbourne’s 1975 premiership team have achieved the feat.
As grim as the figures look for Sydney, Brereton believes they can still be a force in September.
SYDNEY DERBY: BIG GUNS BACK AS SWANS BLOOD MELICAN
LITTLE BROTHER: GIANTS TO START FAVOURITES FOR FIRST TIME
“Their season is recoverable,” Brereton told the Daily Telegraph.
“The numbers told us no one would ever win it from seventh but look at what the Bulldogs did. Sydney have so many good players you throw the number theory out.”
Brereton believes the Swans’ cause will be helped enormously by the return from injury of stars Isaac Heeney, Kurt Tippett and Gary Rohan. While the kids like Oliver Florent, Nic Newman, Robbie Fox and Jordan Dawson have shown promise Brereton has seen weaknesses.
Brereton knows Florent well, his son Devlin went to school with him and was a former teammate at the Sandringham Dragons.
“Ollie is going to be a very good AFL player but right now I’d wait 15 months to play him,” Brereton said.
“His body is a long way from being physically mature and he’s playing against monsters. I watched him closely in the Collingwood game, he kicked a great goal but shortly after showed a real lack of awareness of the players around him and was gobbled up in a tackle by another opponent who just wasn’t on his radar.
“It was just total inexperience, and it’s the sort of thing that creeps in and costs possession and the ball goes in the other direction.”
Brereton has also seen the good side of his game which will grow even more with age and help Sydney’s one area of midfield weakness which is speed in the intermediate area between inside and outside stoppages.
“His great attribute is his ability to read the ball off the hands of the ruckman and keep motoring through,” Brereton said.
“He hits the ball drop at speed off just three steps and it’s a major weapon.”
The Swans have been competitive in contested football without being spectacular as they have in recent seasons. He believes opposition teams are trying to get the ball into space where they can exploit Sydney’s lack of speed.
“When the ball goes to the outside the agile opposition ball winners get to their first,” Brereton said.
“If the opposition ruckman wins the hitout and puts it outside the centre circle the opposition beat Kennedy, Parker and Hannebery to the ball. The Western Bulldogs did that with players like Luke Dahlhaus and so did Collingwood with Adam Treloar.”
Originally published as Swans aren’t dead yet: Brereton