Sydney Swans coach John Longmire insists his side isn't too reliant on superstar forward Lance Franklin, and he was happy to see a spread of goal kickers in the Swans 16-point win over the Giants in Sydney Derby XIV.
Behind by 33 points early in the last quarter, the Giants kicked four unanswered goals to trail by just 10 points with six minutes remaining.
Franklin - one of the Swans six multiple goal kickers - was goalless until that point in the match, but that soon changed when he booted a goal of the year contender from 65m out, sealing the win for the Swans.
Franklin was the Swans only multiple goal kicker in their Round 2 loss to Port Adelaide, but he was joined by Callum Sinclair (3), Sam Reid (2), Will Hayward (2), Tom Papley (2) and Gary Rohan (2) in their win on Saturday night.
Sydney's spread of goal kickers helped the home side register their second win of the season, but coach John Longmire wasn't surprised to see the Swans forwards share the goals.
“We've been able to kick goals before. Lance is a good player, but we had five or six 20+ goal kickers last year, so I think we can share it around,” Longmire said.
“We needed to make sure that we had a spread going forward. Lance still have 9 inside fifties, so it’s not always about him hitting the scoreboard and when he's up the ground he provides opportunities to others as well.”
Forward Sam Reid returned for his first game of the year, having missed the first two rounds of the season with a hamstring injury, and Longmire was pleased with his performance.
“Sam, he's an important player for us, he had a great pre-season and we really missed him last week,” Longmire said.
“He was good tonight, provided a real target for us in the front half and did what we wanted him to do.”
However, Reid pulled up in the last quarter with a thigh complaint and finished the game on the bench with ice on his leg.
“We don't know yet, he's pulled up a bit sore and we'll see during the week,” Longmire said.
“I think it's the front of his leg, I think it's more of a thigh than a hammy, but there was a few blokes that cramped up in the last quarter as well, so we'll have to see how he is.”
“There's a few sore boys in there, a few sore ones, it was a pretty fierce game.”
Kennedy spoke during the week of the Swans having to bring finals-like football to beat the Giants, but it was the Giants that brought the intensity, with both sides fighting it out in a see-sawing battle.
The Swans hit back early in the second half, kicking seven unanswered goals to lead by 33 points early in the last quarter.
When asked what changed for the Swans, Longmire said that it started in the middle.
“We played some good footy, we just lost some key areas, and probably the centre bounces in that first half,” Longmire said.
“We were probably able to neutralise that after half time. That's just what happens in games all the time with the momentum.”
“Good teams kick goals, and they are a good team, and they had 20-odd more tackles than us, so they were a good team having an absolute crack.”
“It's not an easy thing to do, they were always going to get their chance, and they did and they and they kicked goals.”
Ruckman Callum Sinclair had arguably his best game for the Swans, proving influential throughout the match, especially after Rory Lobb was forced out of the ruck with a knee injury.
The 28-year-old was strong at the contest, provided his team a great presence up forward, finishing with 3 goals and 45 hit outs.
“It was good for him to compete in the ruck,” Longmire said.
“We couldn't convert those hit outs to clearances early on, but he's ability to do that and push forward and create a real contest in the air was important for us.”
“He was an option and a threat in the forward half.”
The Swans' 2017 most improved player George Hewett played an unheralded role throughout the match, effectively shutting down Giants ball magnet, Lachie Whitfield.
Longmire was full of praise for the young forward who didn't hit the scoreboard, but shut out Whitfield, who managed just 7 disposals to three quarter time, finishing with 15 for the match.
“He's pretty disciplined George, he sets his tasks up, his mind to something, especially that sort of task, stopping a really good player or trying to prevent their influence on the game,” Longmire said.
“He's as good a half-back as there is going around (Whitfield). He did a pretty good job Georgy (sic), he was really disciplined, and we couldn't have done much better, so we were absolutely thrilled with it.”
“He's a country kid, doesn't get too fussed with it, so you just tell him what the job is, and he says no worries.”
“Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't; he's pretty good.”
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