The Sydney Swans come back from the bye, and John Longmire plans on shutting off the Power when they take on Port Adelaide on Saturday night.
The Power have gotten the better over the Swans in recent years, winning each of their last four meetings.
But the Swans have the opportunity to prove to the rest of the competition that their place in the finals is not for the taking. They’re widely touted as the side most likely to drop out of the eight in the second half of the year.
Sydney coach John Longmire acknowledged Port Adelaide’s strengths but was hopeful they could provide a challenge to the home side.
“They’re a good team, they have been for the last few years,” Longmire said.
“The teams are going to be different [than last year]. We need to be fully aware of what their strengths are, it’s a matter of combatting them and playing to our strengths and we know how much of a challenge that will be.”
One of the main challenges to shutting down Port will be combatting its strong midfield, with Ollie Wines achieving a personal best of 43 disposals against the Gold Coast Suns.
In their last encounter, it was an even spread with Wines, Travis Boak and Sam Powell-Pepper combining for 62 disposals, but more worryingly, 15 clearances between them.
It will likely be a matter of Sydney having to cover a few players to get the midfield ascendancy.
and Longmire believes the Swans have the players to get the better of some of the Powers’ midfields.
“We’ve got some players that play that inside role, that’ll get a job with Ollie. But there’s Boak, there’s others in that mix. Powell-Pepper played really well against us last year.” he said.
“You’ve gotta give respect to all of those guys, as good of a season as Wines is having, he’s just one of a few in that role that play really good footy. We’ve got some guys in there that can play some really good footy as well, so it’ll be an interesting contest.”
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As the second half of the season continues, the Swans are keen to get players back from injury.
One of them is youngster Errol Gulden, who is a chance to return this week.
The Rising Star nominee took the competition by storm on debut and played the first eight games before a stress reaction saw him sidelined for the past six weeks.
His return is unclear as even if Gulden is fit for round 15, the Swans could bring him back through the VFL rather than making the trip to Adelaide Oval.
“We’ll work that out this week, we’ll see how the training progresses; we’ve just come off the track now for our first training session of the week,” Longmire said.
“And we’ve got another one on Thursday, we’ll make that call then. He’s been training for a couple of weeks now, and looking good, so we’ll see how the week progresses.”
Another member of the Swans lineup currently out with injury is Sam Reid.
With Joel Amartey breaking out in the last fortnight, and Logan McDonald back in the side, Reid may have a challenge getting his spot back when he’s fit to play.
Amartey has been the latest Swans youngster to impact on return to the side after a 2020 debut, with Sam Wicks and Chad Warner both having strong first halves of the year, respectively.
After two strong performances against St Kilda and Hawthorn, with a combined 26 disposals, ten marks including five contested, and two goals against the Hawks, Amartey may have an extended stay in the 22 and may keep Reid out once he is fit.
But Longmire says Reid will still have a key role to play for the rest of 2021.
“He’s a very experienced player for us, he’s able to play that centre-half forward/ruck role,” he said.
“We’ve been pleased with what Joel’s been able to do, we’ve been pleased with what Hayden McLean has been able to do. Logan McDonald and those young key forwards have come into the side and been able to get a taste of AFL footy at the senior level.
“[They’ve] played a few games and play actually quite well in a few of those games. We’re pleased with that group.”
“But we know it takes a whole squad, it’s a squad mentality that gets a season done. It’s important that we get Sam back into that mix and use his experience. And I’m sure that will be invaluable as the season progresses.”
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