The latest chapter of the AFL rivalry between Sydney and Hawthorn shows just how fast life can move.
Swans co-captain Luke Parker’s first four AFL seasons ended with finals series that involved clashes with Hawthorn, including the 2012 and 2014 grand finals.
The stakes won’t be nearly as high at the SCG on Saturday, when the 16th-placed Swans seek to snap a four-match losing streak as the 14th-placed Hawks aim to avoid a fourth straight defeat.
Parker, aged 27 but already a 202-game veteran, now passes on the same lessons that he once learned from Adam Goodes, Jude Bolton and their ilk.
And the injury-enforced absence of fellow ball magnet Josh Kennedy means Parker’s mentorship has become even more important in an incredibly inexperienced and young team.
“When I was younger we might have had 18 or 19 guys in the 22 who had played nearly 100 games or more, knew their roles and were really confident,” Parker told AAP.
“You expect young guys to turn things around in one game … but you’ve sometimes just got to step back and remember that some boys are still nervous and playing game one or two.
“When I was 18 and 19, I made mistakes. You do that when you’re immature.
“The main thing is patience with the age group we’ve got … we’re going to get it wrong at times and you can’t get frustrated.”
Equally, Parker isn’t accepting of Sydney’s struggles.
The on-baller, who had 27 disposals, eight tackles and seven clearances while attempting to drag the Swans to victory against Gold Coast last week, remains as desperate to win as ever.
“Our expectation each week is to win. We don’t just throw in the towel and accept we’re a younger team,” he said.
“We have quality players who can definitely give any team a run for their money.
“The foundation is there to become a really good side.”
This will be Parker’s 20th meeting with the Hawks; he and returning forward Sam Reid are the only 2012 premiership players who will run out on Saturday.
“The younger boys on both teams probably don’t understand the history of these two teams,” Parker said.
“There’s been some really good battles. We always seemed to come up against each other at the pointy end of the season … now this is a big game for both clubs because of where we sit.”