Longmire still confident

Sportal September 1, 2012, 8:20 pm
Swans

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Sydney coach John Longmire remains bullish about his side's ability to be a major player in the finals despite being comprehensively beaten by Geelong just one week out from their qualifying final against the Crows in Adelaide.

The Swans produced one of their worst performances of the year on Saturday, conceding eight consecutive second-half goals on the way to a 34-point loss.

Longmire's men were also comprehensively outpointed in tackles (89-68), contested ball (165-145) and inside 50s (71-41).

But the Sydney mentor was quick to remind everyone how well his players performed a mere seven days ago against competition pace-setters Hawthorn in a match the Swans lost virtually in the final minute.

And Longmire suggested anything was possible if Sydney could replicate that kind of effort consistently throughout September.

"We think (if) we get back to playing the footy we played just last week, that'll take some beating," Longmire said post-match.

"I think if we were able to show that sort of contested, strong footy we were able to play last week against the team that's the red-hot favourite, has been for the entire year, in Hawthorn and is only getting more red hot by the day, we weren't far away from them."

The Swans have now lost three of their past four matches - against fellow flag fancies Geelong, Hawthorn and Collingwood - and relinquished top spot on the ladder last round after owning it for seven consecutive weeks prior.

But Longmire insisted his team's recent form wasn't as bad as the record book suggested.

"Losses against Collingwood and Hawthorn, we actually thought we played some pretty positive footy in that," Longmire said.

"I think you've got to be mindful of just looking at the win-loss (record), not every win you play super well and not every loss (is a case of) nothing goes right."

Although the Swans won't be playing at home in the first week of the finals after finishing the home-and-away season third, Longmire said he was happy just to land a coveted top-four spot and double chance that comes with it.

"If someone would have asked me at the start of the year, 'if you finished top four would you take it?', I think most people would tend to agree that we would have taken it," Longmire said.

"We got Adelaide, we've played pretty well over there before and we know what's in front of us."

Sydney co-captain Jarrad McVeigh was confident the Swans would bounce back.

"We believe when we play good footy, we can beat anyone," he said.

"We're disappointed about today but we've got to dust ourselves off pretty quickly and remain upbeat."

McVeigh also believes any of the top six teams this year can win the premiership.

In good news for Sydney, key forward Sam Reid is expected to return from a glute strain next week.

Longmire admitted the Swans' forward line lacked structure with Reid's absence against Geelong.

"Sam across centre-half forward does help us a bit and I thought our talls up forward probably weren't great," Longmire said.

Longmire also said Sydney lost the game midway through the third term when the Cats got on their hot run of goals after the Swans hit the front courtesy of a miracle Kieren Jack major.

Sydney's tendency to play 'safe' and their 'stagnant' ball use were also key factors in the result, according to the Swans boss.

Meanwhile, Nick Smith will almost certainly join Reid as another key inclusion for their match against Adelaide next week after the defender was a late withdrawal with hamstring tightness.

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