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Anzac medallist Dane Swan never doubted his form would return

Friday showreel: Anzac medallist Dane Swan The Collingwood star was at his damaging best with 26 disposals and 4 goals
I was fit and able and I should have been better - I'm better than that
Dane Swan on his slow start to the season
NEARLY 12 seasons have passed and Collingwood midfielder Dane Swan still doesn't care what people outside of his beloved football club think of him.

But even the rugged Brownlow medallist – and now two-time Anzac medallist after his explosive four-goal game against Essendon on Friday – admitted his early-season form was something he needed to work on.  

His pre-season was hampered by a wrist reconstruction in September last year and his output in the Magpies' first three games below his usual standard.

But having sat down with coach Nathan Buckley a few weeks ago to realign some "focuses", he has picked up his game in the last three after maintaining the belief it was only a matter of time.

Topsy-turvy day at the 'G

"Not much worries me but you obviously don't like coming in to training on Monday knowing you're not one of the better players, or you haven't tipped in to what we pride ourselves on," Swan said, after the Pies' 23-point win on Friday.

"Externally, obviously it's nice to read your name in the paper for all the positives and not being doorstopped on a Monday morning, asking 'what's wrong with you, why aren't you getting a kick?'

"I was fit and able and I should have been better - I'm better than that.

"Sometimes you start chasing your tail when you're not getting a kick … but I knew it was going to come."

Swan's speed and power has started to return in recent weeks despite his age – he turned 30 in February - and his game against the Bombers showed glimpses of his best as he kicked important goals at important times.

Buckley said the leaders of the team led it out of the 31-point hole it found itself in after the first quarter and Swan had been an important part of that, with a "PB" in pressure on the opposition this season.

"You can't have performed as consistently at a high level as 'Swannie' has over a long period ... he mentioned the word pride and that's a really strong element," Buckley said.

"So today, when we were challenged, 'Swannie' stuck to what he does."

It's the second best on ground performance Swan has put in on Anzac Day in as many years, and the significance of the occasion – and the accolade – isn't lost on him.

While he admitted he wanted to keep improving this season, he was proud of his game and humbled by claiming such a significant individual prize.

"We play and we get four points but on such a special day in Australia's history it's a little bit bigger than football," he said.

"To play well and win the medal is something I hold in very high regard.

"We don't like to compare football to war – that's just ridiculous – but if we can put on a good show and give a little bit back for everyone, it's something we're truly blessed to do and we're under no illusion we're lucky to play on this day."

Swan joked he had "absolutely" planned his third-quarter goal that saw him burn off Cale Hooker, bounce twice and slot it on his left foot from an impossible angle.

"I actually tried to kick it along the ground, because that's how good my left foot is - it's terrible," he said.

"But they don't draw pictures in the papers so it goes down as a goal.

"It was pretty much a fluke, let's be honest."