Longmire on Melbourne's TripleM, The Sunday Rub

John Longmire spoke with Paul Roos, Wayne Schwass and Wayne Carey today on Melbourne's TripleM radio show, The Sunday Rub.

Off the back of his stark and striking criticism of the teams' overall performance on Saturday afternoon, Longmire spoke with the TripleM team, talking about their form, injuries and what the focus for the season will be.

Longmire confirmed that there's good news on Gary Rohan, expected to leave hospital today.

"He should be out of hospital today, he had the all clear given in regards to all the scans that he had on his neck and his spine, it looked really nasty obviously, but he should be out of hospital today and he's coming back to Sydney late this afternoon.

"Obviously a bit of whip lash and a bit of concussion there as well, so we'll have to see how he goes during the week, but from a serious point of view, he's pulled up well."

Talking about Tippett, he could neither confirm or rule out Tippett for this week, hopeful that he'll play, but he'll be touch and go depending on how the week progresses.

"He went up in the ruck contest in the last drill on Thursday and strained the hip flexer muscle, he was pretty sore.

"We gave him until Friday, he didn't pull up any good at all, so no good for Saturday but we're hopeful that he'll be ok this week, but there's no certainty though, obviously being a Sunday game it gives him an extra day to prepare, but we'll just have to see how the week progresses."

Longmire confirmed that McVeigh would be available for selection this week, depending on fitness.

"McVeigh should be able for selection this week, whether we play him or not just depends on what the team looks like, and how underdone he is compared to the other players."

On missing McVeigh and Rampe, Longmire remarked that the midfield is putting the defence under pressure, and without those missing players getting the ball forward, the team is struggling.

"We haven't been getting the ball through the midfield as consistently as we want, we are putting the defence under pressure, and Dane in particular who was an All Australian last year, who's such a quality player on the last line and being able to get it going forward.

"We've been happy Lewis Melican has come into the team in the last couple of weeks, he's done ok and Jake Lloyd has done ok for us at half-back as well, but there's no question that Rampe and McVeigh would help."

When asked about the "tipping point" and having too many young players in the team, Longmire said that it was an issue that the club were mindful of, but refused to use it as excuse for their form.

"Ever since round 1 last year, we've had 13 debutants over that one and a bit year period, and so we've had a high turnover in that period.

"Last year we certainly were able to blood the younger players into the team on the back of some really strong senior performances.

"In essence, it made it easier for the kids to play, and this year we've kept on introducing the new kids, but we haven't had the consistent performance from our senior group."

Wear and tear may be an issue that the Swans are dealing with, coming into the pre-season with injuries to many of their key players including Parker, Hannebery, Kennedy and Aliir, having played in three of the past five grand finals, and 15 finals since 2012.

Paul Roos used Aliir Aliir as an example of underdone players, having to throw them into the senior team as soon as they're ready to play, rather than when they're in form and have built through the reserve team.

"You're always going to have reduced pre-season, we can't complain about it too much because it means we're in the grand final", Longmire said.

"You try and have that problem if you could, a problem every year.

"Aliir is probably the one you bring up; he played last some sensational footy, on the back of a fantastic pre-season and playing really well in our reserves before bringing him in.

"We lost Dane Rampe round 1 this year and we brought Aliir in probably a bit earlier than his form warranted, but we just needed another tall.

"He's been working on his game at NEAFL level, he was pretty good again on Friday night.

"He's starting to get there, which is really good, we just need to make sure that we get some right game time into him."

When pressed on bringing underdone players back into the team before they're ready, Longmire admitted that in a different situation, the Swans would have given more time to their players.

"It's up to the individuals, you go through and you make decisions based upon on how they're traveling.

"Isaac we've been actually quite surprised on how quickly he's picked it up, he was probably our best player over the pre-season, training sense, and he's certainly been knocked about with his glandular fever.

"Papley and Rohan you could probably argue that if we're up and going really well in our seniors, and winning games, whether those blokes would have come back through the reserves.

"We need those blokes in the senior team, need them playing well and we're confident that they'll start to play well and they've had more game time."

Longmire said that the midfield needs to lift, get back to basics and help their defence out. The Swans are ranked 17th and 18th in the AFL for pressure and contested ball.

"We're not winning the ball around the midfield area anywhere near the consistency that we did last year.

"We need to get the ball forward more, there's no question about that, take the pressure off our defence, it all happens and begins in that midfield area.

"We've been a bit down on numbers through there and form, and that's show in those numbers, no question about that, we've got to get it right."

Longmire lamented the Swans' drop off this season, commenting on the fact that any drop off by any team can be punished.

"We're aware of how close the competition is and if you're off your game a little bit, any team can beat you, and we've always been aware of that and we've never taken that for granted.

"Our best game was probably round 2 against the Bulldogs, where we were in front the last quarter, and in front again in the last quarter against the Pies, and we haven't been able to get over the line.

"That's meant that a few things in our games have suffered and we're not really getting much right at all in our game, we need to get better in a lot of things, and some basic errors that we're making with and without the ball.

Full TripleM interview below. Apologies in advance, this was recorded in the car on the way home, while I was eating lunch.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia http://theswansblog.com

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