SYDNEY co-captain Dane Rampe said the responsibility for the litany of lapses in games this season - lapses that have the Swans fighting for a spot in the top eight - lies squarely at the feet of the senior players.

After battling to win a first quarter in the first half of the season, the Swans have now suffered poor third-term fade-outs in their recent losses to Port and Essendon.

They're now sitting in eighth spot ahead of a monstrous clash with the 10th-placed Western Bulldogs at the SCG on Friday night.

Isaac Heeney leads a dejected Sydney team off the ground after the Swans round 16 loss to Essendon at the MCG on July 2, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

There's a theory around the Swans that their costly drop-offs are caused by the prevalence of young stars in their line-up, who lack the experience to maintain a high standard over four quarters, but the 2016 All-Australian said the opposite was true.

"I can understand why that would be a theory externally, but by no means is it due to the maturity of the group or the young fellas, if anything it's more on our shoulders," Rampe said.

"What we're seeing is a pretty even contribution from senior and younger players and at the end of the day I think the buck stops with us at the top.

"It's very frustrating, the same for our supporters and our families experiencing it.

"The gap between our best and our worst is too big at the moment."

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After the lacklustre loss to the Bombers, changes are expected for Friday night's high-stakes clash with experienced defender Harry Cunningham the most likely to be included after an impressive showing in the reserves last week.

Rampe said he's still uncertain over whether a duel-ruck system will work at the Swans with Tom Hickey and Peter Ladhams. Ladhams played in the VFL last week after returning from suspension, with the duo only featuring twice together this season.

Sydney's Peter Ladhams competes with Port Adelaide's Jeremy Finlayson in round 14 at the Adelaide Oval on June 18, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"It's probably a tricky one. It'd be naive to think we're not going to explore it further but I'm not sure what it looks like, that's just me being honest. Looking forward to seeing how that plays out. I'm not saying we definitely need two rucks in but it's worth looking at for sure," he added.

Coach John Longmire suggested that three-time best and fairest winner Josh Kennedy is more likely to return through the VFL on the weekend after seven weeks out with a hamstring injury.

Rampe says he’s been blown away by the 34-year-old champion’s approach to such a significant setback in the twilight of his career.

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"Like the absolute professional that he is, even the way he handled being a medi-sub earlier in the year, he sees everything as an opportunity. I can see it in his face that he’s really refreshed and that he knows he can make a difference for us," he said.

Kennedy's calm head would be a valuable addition to a side experiencing dramatic inconsistencies in their performances this season, and for a big game that could see the Swans slide out of the top eight should they fail to beat the Dogs. 

"For our own momentum in the season it's going to be a big game and we feel that and we want to lean into that," Rampe said.

"The good thing is we get to showcase our response to last week on Friday night in a home game here in Sydney."