SYDNEY was left a "shattered" football club on Saturday night as it digested a gut-wrenching loss to rival Greater Western Sydney and a final quarter of missed opportunities that will haunt it over summer.
The Swans kicked 2.7 to 0.1 in the last term, having dominated forward entries for the term (17-7) and the match (65-45), but they missed four straight shots on goal to miss their chance to advance.
Coach John Longmire said the final quarter was the period of the game that would haunt the Swans, but they had been inefficient going forward throughout a gripping final.
"We're a shattered group at the moment. Players, staff, everyone who has contributed to what has been an incredible experience for us," the coach said.
"We had 20 more inside 50s and kicked 2.7 in the last quarter. It's a gut-wrenching way to end the season.
"The players have been magnificent … and our families. You can't help but reflect on the chance that might have been there and we let slip."
Like the Giants, the Swans spent the last nine weeks of the season on the road due to the COVID-19 outbreak in NSW, playing their most recent game at home in round 13.
It left Longmire proud of a group that had 10 finals debutants on Saturday and stunned the competition with seven wins from eight games leading into finals.
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"We've been able to face the challenges head on right through this season and we did it again tonight," he said.
"We were five goals down and kept coming and coming. We gave ourselves what we thought was every chance to win."
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The coach said he would not speak to those players who missed shots late in the game in the immediate aftermath, knowing it would do little to help them as the dust settles.
Tom Hickey, Sam Wicks, James Bell and Lance Franklin all missed opportunities, with two rushed behinds – including one in the desperate last minute – settling the final one-point margin.
Longmire praised the brilliant Isaac Heeney, who booted four goals, including the only two of the last quarter, in his best finals performance.
"We put him forward in the second half a bit more permanently as another target up there and he was sensational," Longmire said.
"He gave us a fighting chance to get over the line, as a number of blokes did."
The Swans will now return to Melbourne before dispersing to various locations as best they can for the off-season.