Sydney's disastrous start to the season has them "on edge" but former co-captain Jarrad McVeigh wants his side to embrace the pressure they've put themselves under.
The Swans lost their first six games of the year and were 3-7 after losing to Hawthorn at the SCG in round 10, but have since won four-straight against fellow finals contenders the Western Bulldogs, Richmond, Essendon and Melbourne, to sit just outside the top eight.
Senior personnel such as McVeigh, Dane Rampe, Isaac Heeney, Tom Papley and Gary Rohan have all returned to the side after overcoming early season injuries, and stars like captain Josh Kennedy, Lance Franklin, Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery are all firing, making Sydney the form team of the competition.
With eight games remaining the club has very little margin for error if they are to play finals for a seventh-straight season under coach John Longmire, but McVeigh said the pressure to keep winning wasn't something to shy away from.
"We're on edge and I think that’s a good thing because we're training at a high level and trying to put that into practice on game day," he said.
"There's pressure every week - it doesn't matter if you haven't won a game or you haven't lost a game.
After missing seven games due to a broken arm, Rampe has been outstanding since returning in round nine, and it's no coincidence that the Swans have won five of those matches with him playing a key role in defence.
McVeigh added even more leadership to that backline in last week's win over Melbourne, and with Heeney starring through the midfield, and Papley and Rohan giving the forward half more tackling pressure and goalscoring power, the Swans just about have their best 22 on the field.
"Having the familiar faces around and the faces that you trust (really helps)," McVeigh said.
"When you see 'Ramps' back there you've got that extra confidence because you just give each other a look and you know what they want, so those types of things really help.
"The younger guys performed really well but they're still learning the game and we got good game time into them, so we absolutely trust when they come up to play senior footy."
Round 15 was just McVeigh's third game of the year after calf and hamstring problems plagued him since the pre-season, meaning the veteran of almost 300 games had to come back through the NEAFL in round 14.
"You want to come straight back into the seniors obviously but the plan we had in place was always to do that," he said.
"I had to get my training form up and hopefully come back in if I pulled up well, and that was the case so it was pleasing.
"I think there's always nerves (coming back) because you always want to perform well, but it was nice to play in the reserves and get 70 0r 80 minutes under my belt.
"I've done an enormous amount of work and I had faith in our medical team and with the way I've prepared my whole career, that I'd get back."