- from afl.com.au
SYDNEY needs to improve all areas of their game if they are to overcome a disastrous 0-4 start to the season and challenge for the finals, according to coach John Longmire.
Though competitive all night, Sydney was ultimately outworked by the Eagles who – despite a five-day turnaround – spread harder into space and gained significant advantages in uncontested possessions and marks in their 26-point win.
Longmire conceded his team was unhappy with its performances, but would only benefit by focusing on the present.
"Zero and four; it's not a great spot to sit but it is what it is and we need to play better and more consistently," Longmire said.
"There is not an area of our game that we're completely happy with, clearly, as the scoreboard indicates.
"We need to get better."
Thursday's defeat marks the first time since 1993 the Swans have started the season with four consecutive losses.
No side with the same record has made the finals since the top-eight system was introduced in 1993 and only two teams in AFL/VFL history have won the flag after entering round five winless; most recently North Melbourne in 1975.
Longmire noted the likely impact of a raft of key players slated to return in the coming weeks but lamented his team's inability to perform with the personnel at hand.
"Some (key players) might be available next week but we could do better with the blokes that we've got available," Longmire said.
"Part of the reason we played (Tom) Papley tonight was because we thought he could help us win but we need to get some game time into him as well, rather than having four or five come back at once."
Papley's return was one of few positives from the fixture, with the small forward getting through the match unscathed having not played football since last year's Grand Final after undergoing off-season knee surgery.
Longmire also praised outstanding first-year forward Will Hayward, who kicked two goals from 11 possessions in a dynamic role inside 50.
"From the moment he started playing senior football he just looks like he's up to the tempo in whatever he does," Longmire said.
"Some of the efforts he did tonight, for an 18-year-old kid, were sensational."
Lance Franklin played through an injured corked hip/thigh, but Longmire expected him to be fit for the Sydney derby against GWS next week.