AFTER its blazing first month of the season, Sydney has stumbled to two straight losses and coach John Longmire has put his finger on the primary reason.
The Swans were rarely in the contest against Gold Coast on Saturday, losing by 40 points at Metricon Stadium seven days after suffering a last-gasp defeat to cross-town rivals Greater Western Sydney.
They had a similar amount of disposals to the Suns, generated one more inside 50, but trailed at every break and now sit with a 4-2 record.
Longmire said Gold Coast's execution was "at a different level" to Sydney's, but his main criticism laid elsewhere.
“It’s off the back of hardness and competing," he said.
"It’s always off the back of that.
"You look at what we were doing early in the year, it was off the back of hardness and competing."
The numbers told only half the story, with Sydney trailing the clearance count by three and the contested possessions by eight.
"If you compete hard, your skills follow on from that," Longmire said.
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"It’s always been the case and always will be the case.
"If you are nice and hard and you get the hunt right you hit your targets. It goes hand in glove generally."
Sydney lost George Hewett (concussion) in the opening term, while Nick Blakey (corked thigh) was hobbled for the final three quarters and was a virtual passenger at times.
Longmire said young forward Logan McDonald needed the break from seniors, instead playing a half at VFL level.
It was a much happier changeroom for Gold Coast, with coach Stuart Dew saying the turnaround in fortunes began at half-time of last week's shellacking to the Western Bulldogs.
The Dogs rattled off the first 11 goals of the game, but the Suns kept things in check during the second half and came out full of life against the Swans.
"This wasn't won and lost today," Dew said.
"The way they attacked post half-time (last week), then Monday to front up and get going again.
"We'll say we're not surprised because we felt it was coming."
Dew said while the players absorbed the criticism from last week, the coaching group was also not immune to self-evaluation.
"It was a heavy week, we won't lie on that," he said.
"It was a heavy week for all of us.
"Coaches in particular, had a good look at how we're doing things individually and collectively.
"It was a bit of reflection, particularly Monday, Tuesday, we were like "OK, how are we going about it?"
"It was good to just pause and I guess ask ourselves the right questions and look to get better.
"Just how are we going with our messaging, our training and all that and that's why I think this win was started half-time last week, not at 1.45pm today."