Six rounds into the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership competition, the Sydney Swans were the ugly ducklings of the league, at the bottom of the ladder looking up to see the Brisbane Lions. To say the Swans’ prospects looked gloomy was optimism of the greatest degree.

It was hard to fathom how a team that had won three consecutive premierships and could have made it four could have fallen off so badly. Not even the precipitous decline of the Fremantle Dockers in 2016 established enough of a precedent to lead anyone to tip the Swans to lose their first six in 2017.

The Swans’ remaining five games appear to be one of the easiest runs of the current top eight, with only two top-eight teams on their fixture and an opponents’ percentage of 100.72.

With a record of 10 – 7, history indicates that the Swans have a better than 80 percent chance of making the finals. Given the shock the Western Bulldogs gave the league last year, winning the flag from the seventh finals spot, as well as the third-best percentage in the league, the Swans have shortened in the premiership market to where they trail only the Adelaide Crows.

Not only do the Swans look solid at number six on the ladder, they quite probably could finish as high as fourth.

The only true obstacles in their path going forward are the Geelong Cats at Simmonds Stadium and the Adelaide Crows at the AO. The Hawthorn Hawks, the Fremantle Dockers and the Carlton Blues at Sydney Cricket Ground in the final round do not seem to represent any threat to the seven-game surge the Swans are riding.

The Swans are hitting their old form at just the right time, to the extent that none of the other seven in the top eight would care to see the Swans in week one of September.