Kurt Tippett's shock retirement and first-choice big man Sam Naismith's ACL rupture have rocked the Swans' preparations on season eve, leaving them with a barebones ruck division.
John Longmire is set to turn to Callum Sinclair and possibly untried Darcy Cameron as his major big man options from Sunday against West Coast, with Dean Towers providing support.
The extreme shortage coincides with the Eagles preparing to unleash 2012 All Australian ruckman Nic Naitanuifor the first time in more than 19 months.
Sydney's raw statistics in its two JLT Community Series matches – admittedly a small sample size – painted a bleak picture of the challenge the club faces in being competitive in the ruck.
Opponents Brisbane and Greater Western Sydney amassed a combined 79 hit-outs to the Swans' 30, reducing Sydney to a league-worst 23.3 per cent winning rate.
Longmire's men also ranked last in the pre-season in hit-outs to advantage (5.4 per cent) and second last in total score from clearances (22.6 per cent).
They made the finals last year without being among the League leaders in either category, but boasted stronger respective numbers of 12.2 per cent (13th) and 36.7 per cent (seventh).
A deeper look at Sydney's 2018 pre-season numbers shows the damage its star midfield, spearheaded by Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery, can do with even a limited supply.
The Swans remarkably ranked first in scores from hit-outs to advantage (42.9 per cent) and were the only team not to concede a point when the opposition sharked a hit-out.
Ex-Eagle Sinclair played as a solo ruckman just once last year and was rated below average for hit-outs per game and win rate, and average in hit-outs to advantage rate.
Cameron, 22, arrived at Sydney as the No.48 selection in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft after a standout season in the WAFL with Claremont.