Disappointed Sydney coach John Longmire concedes several of his players, including superstar Adam Goodes, were 'quiet' in Saturday's eight-point loss to Collingwood, but insisted his side's performance was not all bad.
The hosts led by 17 points midway through the third quarter but were left to rue several missed chances as the Pies ended Sydney's nine-game winning streak and stretched their own unbeaten run against the Swans to 11 games.
While disappointed with his side's lack of accuracy and some of the decision making in the final quarter, he could not fault their effort in what was a brutal encounter at ANZ Stadium.
"I thought it was two teams having an absolute crack," Longmire said.
"If you go through all the stats, it was very even.
"In the end they did a few things right towards the end that meant they got over the line.
"We had 25 scoring shots to 18, missed a few chances that would've made a difference, but you need to do the right things for the whole game to beat a team like Collingwood."
The Swans got to within two points following 100th gamer Ben McGlynn's goal in the final minute before Collingwood's best performer Dayne Beams kicked the match winner seconds before the siren.
"I thought we did a lot of things right," Longmire said.
"We were two points down with 15 seconds to go.
"It's measured by inches I guess and the team that comes out in front is happy with what they did in the last five minutes of the game and we think we can improve on it."
The laid-back coach leapt to his players' defence when asked why several went missing in a match that had all the ferocity of a final.
"We got beaten by eight points," he said.
"If we got beaten by 10 goals, you could start pointing a few fingers.
"In the whole wash up there wasn't much difference tonight.
"There wasn't a lot separating us. Maybe a few players could play a bit better, but there's probably a few on the opposite side that could say the same thing.
"We need to assess it in the clear light of day."
Longmire scoffed at suggestions it was a loss the Swans had to have after winning nine straight heading in.
"No, I don't believe in that," he said.
"We'll get a lot out of tonight. (Collingwood) have been a good team for a long time and we'll assess the game on Monday, look at what we did well, what we can improve upon, and move on."The Swans remain on top of the AFL ladder on points differential and will lock up a top-four spot with a win over the Western Bulldogs next Sunday.