Following the Swans’ second win of 2019, a five-point thriller over Essendon at the SCG, coach John Longmire was unsurprisingly pleased and reassured.
He was quick to acknowledge the team’s excellent four-quarter performance - a quality sadly lacking so far this season - but also emphasised Sydney would not “get it right all the time” as its playing stocks transitioned.
“I thought we scrapped it out pretty well - we had to. That was pretty pleasing, we had a real crack at it,” Longmire said.
“It’s important to be able to win and change the course of the momentum of the game. When you get your nose over the line it’s a good sign.
“We’ve been inconsistent this year and so far we haven’t had the wins. We’ve been pretty competitive during the course of games but just dropped away. Tonight we didn’t drop away. That’s the lesson to come out of it.”
Longmire described the performances of senior leaders Luke Parker, Josh Kennedy and Dane Rampe against a highly-regarded Essendon side as “huge”.
“The captains feel it (the losses) as much as anyone. They really led from the front.”
The contribution of gun draftee Nick Blakey (17 possessions, 1 goal) impressed Longmire, but it was the teenager’s chase-down tackle on Mason Redmond as the seconds kicked down in the final quarter which ranked as a critical moment for the desperate Swans.
“He’s got talent but he’s a massive competitor. When he gets a bit of size on him he’s going to be a reasonable player.”
"He rose to that occasion and laid a really effective, quality tackle for us.
"He's just a great kid to work with and he understands the game really well which I've noticed coaching on the bench, he's really in tune with the game."
Blakey, along with fellow developing key forward Tom MCartin, who took some outstanding contested marks and kicked a goal, are going to be assets for many years, according to the coach.
“They're not going to win their contests every time they go near the ball, but we think for the future of the footy club we've got a couple of handy ones there that can help us out, and that’s really important,” Longmire said.
"If you look at our key forwards against their key defenders, I think their key defenders have almost 350 games (between them) and McCartin and Blakey have played 28.
"We're not going to get it right all the time, but we thought we got it right for the majority of the game tonight."
As the sounds of the Swans celebrating their five-point victory wafted into the interview room, Longmire spoke of the reality of a 22-round AFL season - there is another game to prepare for against North Melbourne on Saturday 18 May.
“We’re going down to Tassie next week - it doesn’t stop. But you’ve got to enjoy these moments in footy because it’s a tough caper.”
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