IF MELBOURNE is to lose two games in a row for the first time in nearly two years, then one would think Peter Ladhams is going to need to have a big say in proceedings for the Swans at the MCG on Saturday night.

The Sydney ruckman faces the unenviable task of taking on the most formidable ruck combination in the game - Max Gawn and Luke Jackson.

But it’s exactly the kind of contest that the 24-year-old was recruited from Port Adelaide for, as the Swans try to inflict consecutive losses on the reigning premier for the first time since round 15 and 16 in 2020.

After a slow start to life as a Swan, Ladhams has started to fire in the red and white and his second-half performance on Friday night against Richmond, in what was a gripping ruck battle with Toby Nankervis, helped inspire the Swans to a thrilling victory.

In his eighth game for Sydney, Ladhams had 19 disposals and 26 hitouts in an impressive individual display, but with Tom Hickey again absent through injury, he’ll need to put in a similar performance against the best team and ruck duo in the AFL.

Richmond's Toby Nankervis and Sydney's Peter Ladhams contest the ruck during round 11 at the Sydney Cricket Ground on May 27, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

“When you’re rucking solo against two genuine ruckman, it can be tough because when you come off for a rest, they can get some momentum through that,” Ladhams said.

“So, you’re on the field more than you usually would. If it’s just you and another ruck, you generally go off at the same time and then the second stringers go at it, so it’s definitely a lot harder and taxing on the body but I think I’ve done it enough times to deal with it.”

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The hope is that Hickey and Ladhams will develop a chemistry in time that can rival the best ruck mix in the league.

While they’ve only had two games together since Ladhams crossed over from South Australia, they’re yet to click as a combination with both their individual outputs down when they’ve been named in the same side.

“We've only played two games together before Tom hurt his toe so it’s definitely a work in progress. It’s a lot better having him out there with me, especially when you play a team with one ruck, it can be a big advantage,” Ladhams said.

“I definitely believe we can become a force. It’s up to the coaches as to whether they play both of us. I think it helps that we can both ruck and then do some damage on the floor as well, we’re both pretty mobile ruckmen.”

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VFL Showreel, R1: Peter Ladhams highlights

Enjoy Peter Ladhams's standout VFL performance for Sydney

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One thing is certain, the analysis of the Ladhams-Hickey plan will not be shied away from at a club that prides itself on its upfront conversations.

It’s an aspect of the Swans' famed culture that Ladhams has admired from afar, and embraced since moving east.

“You hear a lot about it being a footy fan and then getting to the club, everyone’s just held to such a high standard. Whether it’s training or in-game and then away from footy as well. Everyone holds themselves to a really high standard and then you’re able to have those conversations within the group if someone isn’t pulling their weight,” Ladhams said.

“We’re able to help each other and have tough conversations when needed.”

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Sydney's Peter Ladhams celebrates the win with the fans after round five against West Coast at Optus Stadium on April 15, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

One discussion that isn’t difficult to have at the Swans right now surrounds boom youngster Chad Warner and his potential to develop into a household name in the competition.

He was viewed by some as unlucky not to claim the Goodes-O’Loughlin Medal last week after a scintillating 27-disposal effort against the Tigers in just his 25th game, and looms as a danger man for the Demons as they aim to ensure their rare loss last week remains merely a blip on their premiership radar.

“It hit me watching him in the pre-season, he’s a star,” Ladhams said of Warner.

“Maybe being from Sydney he might not get as much recognition as he should. Some of the stuff he does is crazy. He’s having a great year and plays with a lot of confidence which people love, he’s got a lot of swagger about him.”