An admittedly small two-game sample suggests it is not so much that the Sydney Swans are struggling to come to terms with their latest bad boy as that they are missing their "Mummy".

Lance Franklin's shock move from Hawthorn to the Swans and his exorbitant contract led inevitably to a game of extreme musical chairs. Out went Andrejs Everitt, Jesse White and most momentously, Shane Mumford, across town to Greater Western Sydney.

The Swans are 0-2 and, naturally, everyone is looking at the doughnut rather than the hole. Franklin's inauguration has been steady rather than explosive, at least on the field. Against Collingwood on Saturday night, he had 16 possessions and featured in two gossip columns, both career averages.

He kicked two goals, against a career average of three. But he is playing higher up the ground than he mostly did for Hawthorn. Only 30 per cent of his possessions this season have been inside-50 – the fewest since his first year with the Hawks. On Saturday night, it was three of 16. His two goals were from speculative distance.

Still, this is the running-in period for him and the Swans. They have nearly nine more years to get it right.

Much will depend on happenings further afield again. Mumford was, and is, that most invaluable of football assets, a presence. In his first two games for the Giants, he has won an imposing 91 hitouts. The Giants are in the black for clearances and stoppages.

Although the foremost victim of limited interchange is the second ruckman, it is still true that two is better than one and a makeshift.

At Sydney, a big burden has fallen on to the shoulders of Mumford's previous understudy, Mike Pyke. The Canadian's retraining as an AFL footballer is one of the more remarkable coaching feats of recent times, but there is a limit. In two matches without Mumford, Pyke has had to get to 71.5 contests a game, compared with 48.4 in 2013.

It shows. Last year, the Swans ranked fifth for hitouts to advantage. Presently, they are 16th. The Swans are a stoppage side. Last year they ranked fourth for clearance differential (that is, clearances for versus clearances against). This year, they are 16th.

As noted, this is a skimpy sample, easily skewed. Nonetheless, it can be seen that the Swans are doing everything harder than usual. Last year, they conceded a score from just 45 per cent of opposition forward entries – the meanest in the league. This year, it is 52.5 per cent, which ranks 15th.

At the other end of the ground, ditto. In the last two years, the Swans have been first and second for rate of conversion. This year, they are 14th. History suggests that while Franklin will kick many and spectacular goals, he won't improve that figure. But Kurt Tippett, when he returns, might.

It is too soon to write off the Swans. Season-on-season records show that they are sluggish starters, but always there at the end. Almost certainly, some Swans will privately begrudge Franklin's fantastic deal. But pride in individual performance should account for that.

Nonetheless, life is different because of who is there, and who is not. On Thursday, Everitt's disciplined job on Brett Deledio helped to drag Richmond back into its game against Carlton. On Saturday, as Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury stole the game away from the Swans, Everitt might have been useful.