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Swans refuse to dwell on inglorious finals exit

AFL 2017 Second Semi Final - Geelong v Sydney
Luke Parker in the immediate aftermath of the Swans' semi-final loss to Geelong
Yes, I had a bad game and like any game I reviewed it thoroughly, but I don't think it's something to dwell on
Luke Parker

SYDNEY'S biggest names had a rare off night when the team's season ended badly against Geelong in last year's semi-final, and Luke Parker was surprisingly one of the main culprits.

It was performance well out of character for Parker, who is one of the competition's renowned big game performers, but last year's club champion isn't using it as motivation during his pre-season campaign.

The Swans vice-captain managed just 13 disposals in the 59-point loss to the Cats, well down on his season average of 25.3, while Mitch Duncan, Patrick Dangerfield, Sam Menegola and Scott Selwood ran riot for the winners.

With skipper Josh Kennedy also quiet by his standards, Dane Rampe well beaten by Dangerfield in the first half, and Lance Franklin ineffective, Sydney kicked just three goals after the first change to finish with their lowest score – 5.9 (39) – of the season.

Parker told that like the rest of the squad, he's well and truly moved on from last season's disappointing finale, and doesn't need any added incentive to push himself over summer.

"Yes, I had a bad game and like any game I reviewed it thoroughly, but I don't think it's something to dwell on," he said.

"There wasn't one thing I picked up on that happened or anything, I just didn't perform to my best, and it was disappointing.

"Geelong were far too good for us on the night and were the better side."

It seems harsh to even analyse Parker's strangely low output against the Cats when the star midfielder played such a major role in his side's remarkable run to the finals after they started 2017 with six straight losses.

The 25-year-old played every match in 2017 and led the Swans for possessions and clearances on his way to a second best and fairest award, joining teammates Kennedy (three) and Jarrad McVeigh (two) as multiple winners of the Bob Skilton Medal.

The tough onballer said being crowned club champion again, after he first won the award in 2014, was a special feeling.

"It's a huge honour, especially with 'Joey' (Kennedy) and 'Macca' (McVeigh) doing it as well," he said.

"Obviously like the rest of the boys my season started slowly, but once we found some form and consistency, I think everybody jumped on board."

Parker has made his name as a ruthless competitor in the midfield but has also shown his talent as a forward, and he's hoping to get back to being dangerous in that area of the ground this season.

He kicked 14 goals last year, his lowest total since he spent a fair chunk of time as Sydney's sub during their 2012 premiership-winning season, but with Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills, George Hewett and Zak Jones being given more time in the middle going forward, Parker is hunting goals.

"I think it's part of my game that I can definitely improve this year, and I love spending time in the forward line," he said.

"If I can go forward and kick a few it gives our midfield a different look and adds something different to the side, and that goes for 'Joey' or Isaac or whoever rests in the forward 50."