Grand final hurt to drive Swans

Lui Zacher
September 25, 2022 / 9:34 pm

SYDNEY co-captain Callum Mills says the “embarrassed” Swans will use the burn of their AFL grand final thumping to drive them forward into next season.

The Swans barely uttered a whimper in Saturday’s decider against Geelong, suffering a 20.13 (133) to 8.4 (52) defeat

It was a sour ending to an otherwise brilliant season.

“We were smacked in contested ball, didn’t play the way that we needed to win, and the hard part was that there wasn’t that much fightback,” Mills told reporters.

“We feel pretty embarrassed, to be honest.

“It’ll be hard not to think about this game (come pre-season).

“We let ourselves down, and this will be in the back of my mind for a long time to come, that’s for sure.”

Mills dismissed the suggestion Sydney’s young players had been overwhelmed by the occasion.

“Definitely not the young players. Us as leaders take ownership of that performance,” he said.

“We weren’t at the standard of what we needed to be on grand final day, and it’s shattering.”

Mills admitted the Swans “weren’t there to compete” around contested ball, and failed to “show that fight to get back into the contest”.

Fellow co-captain Dane Rampe said it was obvious Sydney “didn’t quite handle the moment” and pointed to Geelong’s thumping start to the third quarter as the turning point.

“It’d be naive to think that there weren’t a few heads that dropped,” Rampe said.

Despite the devastation surrounding the manner of Saturday’s defeat, Rampe felt there would be plenty of positives to take from a breakout season.

“Maybe a couple of weeks, couple of beers, and you look back – we have achieved a lot,” he said.

“The growth of some of our younger players has been unbelievable.

“To see the rise of Chad Warner again today, he’s been nothing short of incredible. There are plenty of positives to take out.”

Rampe was confident Sydney can move forward and challenge again next season.

“What gives me confidence is the people we’ve got in our organisation,” he said.

“Our adaptability and our ability to think bigger than just the game, it’s (about) people first and foremost.

“We’ll review it hard, but we’ll also wrap our arms around each other.

“I haven’t thought about our response yet. But I’m confident in the group and the club going forward … and we’ll do everything we can to get back here as well.”

(C) AAP 2022

Dejected Sydney players following Saturday’s grand final loss. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)