Sydney Swans co-captain Josh Kennedy says an unsustained commitment to the contest cost his side in Thursday night’s 22-point loss to Melbourne at the SCG.

Sydney’s Kennedy, Zak Jones and Oliver Florent led the way around the contest in the opening half, with all three midfielders gathering plenty of the footy to help the Swans to a six-point half-time buffer.

Sydney had also kicked the last three goals of a high-scoring first term to open up a 14-point quarter-time lead.

But Kennedy says the Swans’ pressure at the contest would begin to unravel midway through the third stanza – and he attributed the loss to that drop-off.

“We were playing pretty good footy for most of the first half and about 10 minutes of the third quarter, but I think where it probably went wrong was in the contest,” Kennedy told SwansTV post-match.

“They were able to get on top of us with contested possessions and ground balls at both ends of the ground. Their midfield started to get going and we couldn’t go with them.”

The defeat means the Swans have won one game and lost three over the opening four rounds of the season.

Sydney is now set to face Richmond at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium next Saturday night, a ground at which the Swans will hope to build on an impressive recent record.

The Swans have clinched victory on 16 of their past 20 visits to the Docklands venue, with Sydney’s most recent appearance resulting in a 24-point win over Carlton last Saturday afternoon.

The Saturday game means Sydney will now enjoy a nine-day turnaround before taking on the Tigers, and Kennedy said his side would make the most of the extended break.

“We’ll address the issues to come out of today and where we can improve,” Kennedy said. 

“We had a good first half but it’s just a bit disappointing that we seemed to stop halfway through the third, so we’ll address that during the week and then look to Richmond.”