MIKE Pyke enjoyed a record-breaking night against Carlton on Saturday as another piece of the Sydney Swans' juggernaut slipped into place.
Pyke had missed five games earlier in the season due to a hamstring problem and showed some patchy form upon his return, against Richmond in round 14.
But he showed his value at the SCG on Saturday night, setting a new career-high with 53 hit-outs in the Swans' 71-point belting of the Blues.
The ruck has been viewed by some as the only potential weak link in a side boasting a midfield the rival of any, the competition's second best defensive unit and a forward line the envy of all.
But if Pyke continues this sort of form, that will no longer be a concern.
"The ruck contests were really important," Swans coach John Longmire said.
"We went in tonight with their centre bounce crew of (Robert) Warnock, (Bryce) Gibbs, (Chris) Judd (and Marc) Murphy.
"You'd struggle to find a better centre bounce crew in the competition really so it was a big job for our blokes.
"They had to work hard and I thought Pyke did a good job, as did the other mids."
Lance Franklin starred once more with six goals, including five in the stunning third quarter assault that yielded 10.4 to a single Carlton behind.
But it was another forward sparking the third term avalanche before Franklin got into this stride.
Sam Reid finished with 13 possessions, five marks and four goals, including two goals during the pivotal third term, to play a crucial role in the victory.
"His form's been pretty good this year and he's played a number of different roles for us," Longmire said.
"It's a bit different to what he's done normally, that swingman roll that he's been able to play.
"Whether it's deep forward or high half-forward, in the ruck or back, he's a disciplined, smart, versatile player and it was good for him to get some reward on the scoreboard tonight.
"At the start of the third quarter he was one that got us going with a couple of big tackles and a couple of contested marks."
Longmire was also asked about the Swans' winning streak, which reached 12 games on Saturday, equalling the all-time club record.
Unsurprisingly for the straight shooting coach, he said it hadn't warranted a mention by those inside the club.
"It hasn't been mentioned at all internally," he said.
"It's good for the supporters and good for people outside the club to talk about, but we don't talk about it and haven't spoken about it internally at all.
"It's very simple for us. It's just about making sure we prepare well mentally and physical, we really respect the opposition no matter who we play, we train hard and then make sure on game day we bring our best effort."
Longmire was also quizzed about a story that surfaced this week from Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, who labelled the Swans mentor "petty" for declining to be an assistant coach on the Australian side for this year's International Rules game against Ireland.
McGuire has antagonised the Swans in the past over the Cost of Living Allowance and its academy and believed that was the reason Longmire had refused to take part in the match.
McGuire is the chef de mission for the Australian side and Longmire had little interest in commenting, other than to say the story is true.
"Yeah I was aware of (the comments), yeah it's true, but I'm not commenting on it tonight," he said.
"I've moved on, the AFL's moved on, everyone's moved on. I'm not worried about it. I'm worried about the Swans.
"We need to keep winning games of footy, that's what I'm worried about."