Parker says Swans have learned their hard lessons
Luke Parker and his Sydney teammates faced two choices following their brutal AFL grand final hammering from Geelong.
"Right after the way last year finished, we reviewed it ... you either carry it around with you over the off-season and into this season and strap it to you like a ball and chain and drag it around, or we do something about it," Parker told AAP..
"Learn and improve - that's the path we've gone down.
"Everything is an opportunity to learn. We did that, hopefully we'll be better for it.
"The boys showed up to pre-season, day one, with a fantastic attitude and we're going into the season really confident with what we can do."
Sydney had their worst game of the season at the worst possible time, going down to Geelong by 81 points on the last Saturday in September.
And they will need to defy some history if they are to contend again this year.
Recently, heavy AFL grand final losses have left a telling mark.
The Western Bulldogs lost their elimination final last September after their 2021 belting from Melbourne.
GWS kicked just three goals in 2019, their debut grand final, and have made the top eight only once since.
Sydney assistant Don Pyke eventually lost his job as Adelaide senior coach, with the Crows' reaction to their 2017 drubbing from Richmond a classic lesson in how not to handle a grand final disaster.
"There are many people who've had experiences in regards to that - finishing the season not how they'd like," Parker said.
"It's about how you respond. As I said before, his advice is you can either carry it around with you or we can do something about it."
What gives the Swans co-captain great confidence is that they showed plenty last year.
"You reflect on the season as a whole and we did a lot of things right, we played some really good football," he said.
"Our game style, we feel, stands up.
"You look at the end of the year and see areas where you can improve - we've done that, hopefully we're in a better state."
Then there are the younger players - Chad Warner, Oliver Florent, James Rowbottom and Errol Gulden - who have shown they are made for senior football.
"It's exciting - the more they play together, the more synergy they build," Parker said.
"The more experience they get, the better off they'll be.
"That's what we've been trying to do the last few years, play a good brand of football, get a lot of games into these young guys who we know will be some great footballers."