Longmire: We should have got it done tonight

The Swans fell agonisingly short against North Melbourne on Saturday night at the SCG, twice coming from 14-points down, only to fall two points short at the final siren.

Still missing a significant number of tall players, the Swans opted to go small for the second week in a row.

Where the Swans found a way to win their Round 6 match against the Cats, it was the Kangaroos that dominated play early in the game.

A controversial goal was the difference between the teams on another slipper Sydney night, with turnovers and mistakes punctuating the clash.

Despite Longmire’s rallying call on Thursday morning, calling for his players to find a way to win at home, the Swans couldn’t quite get the job done, making it three losses from four games.

Only seasons 2017, 2011, 2006, 2000 and 1994 have seen equal or worse starts to a season for the Swans at the SCG, with 2017 one from five, and 1994 one from nine.

The Swans hit back early in the last quarter with two goals in the opening five minutes, but couldn’t hold on, despite having multiple chances to extend the lead to two goals.

When asked what stats Longmire wasn’t happy about after the match, the disappointed in Swans’ coach pointed to the scoreboard and said it’s something the Swans have to work on.

“The scoreboard stat, that's one I'm not happy with, that stat,” Longmire said.

“Stats only tell part of the story. We slowed them down in the uncontested marks after quarter time, but we let them go too many times the length of the ground, where they were able to score.

“(They went) too many times the entire length of the ground and scored a couple of easy goals.

“We hit the front in the last quarter and should have sorted it out a bit better.”

While goal kicking from the Swans was particularly poor in the second half, kicking 5.8 including 3.4 in the last quarter, North Melbourne missed several easy chances that could have put them out of reach.

With the Swans up by eight points with just five minutes left to play, the Roos scored four points in a row, before Mason Wood kicked the winning goal.

“They missed some easy ones, but we missed some important ones as well at different times, that we should have been able to nail and would have given us a bit of a buffer,” Longmire said.

While clearly disappointed that Hartung’s touched goal wasn’t overturned, Longmire refused to be drawn into criticism over the goal review system.

“Someone told me he touched it, so what do you want me to say,” Longmire said.

“That's what the review is supposed to be there for.

“If he touched it, he touched it and that's what the review is for I would have thought.”

While Will Hayward was the star for the Swans in their forward line, Ben Ronke and Ollie Florent failed to fire, as did Luke Parker who was playing at full forward.

“Ollie's first half was quiet, his second half, certainly his last quarter was pretty good,” Longmire said.

“Hayward was really lively up forward, was a real target in our front half, and was fantastic.

“We looked at the start of our game, we looked at the forward group and we thought we had to put Parker there, because we thought Gary was the highest in terms of games played at a hundred and the rest were a bit young.

“We put Parker forward and various things, but Will was clearly the standout.”

Despite the comeback and hitting the front twice in the last quarter, the Swans couldn’t hold off the Roos long enough.

With three losses from their first four home games, Longmire can’t quite put his finger on what’s going wrong at the SCG.

“It's a whole range of things, various things, each one is different,” Longmire said.

“You've really got to find a way to get it done at home and we haven't done that, and we need to find a way to get it done.

“We should have got it done tonight, even though we weren't happy about a few things.”

Even with opportunities to Florent, Towers and Papley to put the Swans ahead by two goals with just minutes left in the match, they all missed their chances.

In the end, turnovers killed the Swans’ chances, and while they struggled to find ways to score, the Roos punished the Swans for their sloppy play, too often going to length of the field, Longmire said.

“Just have a look at our front-half there for a bit,” Longmire said.

“We're just trying to come up with ways to kick a winning score, and last week in the last quarter we were able to.

“If you drop away in any part of the game, every little part of your game gets exposed.

“We understand that, but you've got to find a way to score and that's the reality of it.

“They still took it down the ground too many times, length of the ground stuff.

“They were able to get a couple of easy goals off a couple of basic turnovers, that we delivered them on a plate.”

While the Swans declared Hannebery as a near-certain started for Hawthorn next Friday night at the MCG, Longmire took a more pragmatic approach at the press conference, describing Hannebery and Franklin as 50-50 prospects only.

“He's a chance, both he (Franklin) and Hanners (sic) had a jog and ran on Friday, so we'll see how it is,” Longmire said.

“It's a Friday game, so I'm not sure whether that comes into it or not, or whether that impacts to see if he's up and going by Wednesday.

“They're both 50-50 at the moment, we'll see how the week progresses.

“The groin injury, I'm not sure he ran hard enough Friday to get the all clear yet, going into a shorter week.”

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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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