After falling to the Western Bulldogs, Sydney face a week of soul-searching before Friday's hit-out with Geelong provides them a shot at redemption.
The Swans blew a golden chance to reclaim top spot on the AFL ladder on Saturday, pipped by four points in the final seconds of play at the SCG.
Coach John Longmire's side had the upper hand at halftime but fell victim to a third-quarter walloping by Dogs midfielders Marcus Bontempelli and Tom Liberatore, the latter steering his team to a five-goal streak.
Lance Franklin looked to have saved a sinking ship in the final term, before comeback kid Jason Johannisen booted the winning major moments before the siren sounded.
Standout performer Luke Parker lamented the Swans' disorganisation at pivotal moments.
"It's cost us a few times, our structures this year," Parker said.
"It's frustrating we're not getting it right at a crucial time of the game."
The result means Sydney have slipped to fourth and are bunched in a cluster of teams on 40 points instead of where they could be - at the summit ahead of Hawthorn.
There's little room for error amid the logjam as the team prepare for Friday's showdown with the second-placed Cats at Simonds Stadium.
Midfielder Josh Kennedy viewed the tough clash as an opportunity.
"It's obviously a huge challenge playing Geelong in Geelong," Kennedy said.
"There's no better way to bounce back.
"We've got the six days which is good - it doesn't give us too much time to dwell on the game that was.
"The Cats have had a great season and have a great record against the top-placed sides.
"On their day they're extremely tough to beat, but I feel like on our day we are as well."