19/04/2024

Sydney Swans coach John Longmire enters his 11 season at the helm. Image Source: sydneyswans.com.au

Sydney Swans coach John Longmire had plenty of reasons to smile following a tough training session at Lakeside Oval this morning.

Sydney Swans coach John Longmire had plenty of reasons to smile as he watched over his team complete a strong and contested match simulation training session in over 30-degree heat this morning at Lakeside Oval.

With experienced AFL Umpires on hand to officiate and implement the new rules and interpretations, the Swans held their second internal hit out as the new season draws closer.

Speaking to the media following the session, Longmire, well into pre-season number 11 as a senior coach, was bullish about his young midfield brigade who look to continue to build on the strides and growth from season 2020.

“It’s exciting from my perspective to sit back and see the youth that’s coming through over the past couple of years. This year’s draftees are looking really sharp and also the ones over the last couple of years, which is really pleasing” he said.

With strong and talented youth at the core of the Swans list, Longmire is conscious of the steps this young group needs to take to match it with the best sides come to the pointy end of the season.

But he maintains the belief that the growth that has been shown last season and over the pre-season this year that this group is well on their way to getting back to where they want to be.

“We believe we’ve got some significant young talent on our list that we have been nurturing and bringing through and trying to develop. We also know that the step into really competitive finals type football week in week out is still a step we need to take,” he said.

“We weren’t happy with where we finished last year but still believe we got some positives out of it. But that next step is a big significant step we need to make. We are working towards taking those steps sooner rather than later.”

One of the big positives from last season was the development of the young midfield group.

The nucleus to lead the Swans into the next generations.

Young midfielders Dylan Stephens, Ollie Florent, James Rowbottom, Justin McInerney and Nick Blakey all spent significant time playing in the midfield last season, alongside veterans Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker and star small forward Tom Papley at stages.

With some exciting draftees this year and Pick 26 from 2019 Will Gould who is still yet to debut, the Swans possess no shortage of young talent who are ready to come in and take the next step when called upon.

“We’ve exposed a number of players last year. One of the real positives we got out of the season was the development of the younger group, particularly through the midfield and that part of the ground,” Longmire said.

“We’ve still got (Josh) Kennedy and (Luke) Parker, some of the more experienced guys there but there is now a whole group under them and we look forward to giving them more opportunities and exposing them against quality AFL midfield.”

Superstar forward Lance Franklin was an invested onlooker as was captain Josh Kennedy at today’s session.

Kennedy nursing a sore back while Franklin continues to gradually build back up from a calf complaint that interrupted his pre-season two weeks ago.

“He’s been doing everything right and then some, which has been great to see,” Longmire said on the superstar four-time Coleman medallist.

“He’d had some good solid training up until two weeks ago when his calf tightened up. He ran yesterday, ran quite well, he’ll run again tomorrow.

The Swans will have another internal trial and scratch match against cross-town rivals GWS before their AAMI Series Pre-Season match against Gold Coast on Sunday, March 7.

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