THIS one hurt more than 2014, said dejected Sydney Swans midfielder Josh Kennedy after the Grand Final loss.
Kennedy played himself to an absolute standstill in defeat, finishing second in Norm Smith Medal voting for his 34 disposals (17 contested) and three goals.
But it meant little to him.
After the Swans were thumped by Hawthorn in 2014 and essentially out of the game by half-time with a six-goal deficit, Kennedy said getting closer against the Bulldogs made it a tougher pill to swallow.
Every Swan rated from the Grand Final: Kennedy stands tall
The Swans led by two points at half-time and were within one after George Hewett's great set shot midway through the final term.
But the Dogs iced victory with the final three goals of the game – two to Liam Picken and one to Tom Boyd.
"It probably hurt a little bit more (than 2014) because it felt like we had a chance, we were having a crack and at critical moments in the game they stood up and we didn't," Kennedy said.
How the fans saw it
All season the Bulldogs built their game on winning contested footy, and the Grand Final was no different.
"The Bulldogs were a bit more consistent over the four quarters," Kennedy said.
"It was certainly a hard-fought game.
"Every possession was well earned from both sides, but they just got on top of us a bit in that area, contested footy.
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"Their contested footy is elite. They keep the ball in motion and try to surge it forward at all costs.
"We were hurt too much on turnover and were a bit conservative with our ball movement, and they had a much more even contribution across the board."