Former Sydney co-captain Kieren Jack says criticism of the winless Swans is fair enough, but they can’t afford to go into their shell.
Last season’s AFL minor premiers are in grave danger of missing the finals for the first time since 2009, after losing their first five games.
It’s their worst start in 24 years and leaves them mired in the bottom three.
They are three wins out of the four and a whopping 16 points behind their crosstown rivals, Greater Western Sydney, who thumped them by 42 points at the SCG on Saturday.
One potential upside for Sydney is their draw over the next few weeks.
Four of their next five games are against the other teams in the bottom five.
Jack said the Swans, who play Carlton at the MCG next Saturday, were in a rut.
“We have to fight our way out,” Jack said on the Swans’ website.
“I know this group can do it, we just need to find a way to do it.
“We need to train hard and not go into our shell, that’s probably the main thing.
“I think there’s going to be criticisms coming left right and centre and probably fair enough.
“But we need to focus on within these four walls what we can do to get better and train it this week and just come out all guns blazing.”
Midfielder turned forward Jack is one of several senior Sydney players performing below their best.
Carlton star Bryce Gibbs remained wary of the Swans despite their poor start.
“No doubt if they can get a bit of confidence they will be fine, I just hope it’s not this week,” Gibbs told the Seven Network’s Game Day.
Sydney coach John Longmire admitted the Swans were down on confidence and had to pick themselves up off the canvas quickly.
“We’ve got ourselves into it (a hole), there’s only one choice now – to work our way out of it,” Longmire said.
“The majority of boys have been fantastic for a long period of time for us and what we’re dishing up at the moment is not good enough.”
Longmire and Jack were encouraged by a solid debut performance from defender Lewis Melican against the potent GWS forward line.