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Longmire: Top spot not a focus

Sportal August 19, 2012, 9:06 pm
John Longmire

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Sydney coach John Longmire denied finals had arrived early for his club despite the Swans finishing the home-and-away season with back-to-back matches against Hawthorn and Geelong.

The Swans bounced back from their first loss in 10 weeks last round to Collingwood with an emphatic 82-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

And while Longmire described their blockbuster top-of-the-table match-up with the second-placed Hawks at the SCG next week as their biggest match so far in 2012, he insisted the next fortnight was more about seeing where they're at against some of the best teams in the league.

"(It's) a real challenge for us," Longmire said of the next fortnight after Sydney's big win against the Dogs.

"It's probably more (about) playing against really good teams, it's as simple as that, that's the challenge for us."

Longmire also insisted winning the minor premiership wasn't a major focus for his team and didn't think there was much of an advantage from getting a close look at teams they could very well play in the finals so close to September.

"They (Hawthorn and Geelong) might think it's an advantage the other way around as well," Longmire said.

"Things change pretty quickly in the space of a few weeks, both with personnel and game styles and tactics.

"So even things that both teams do this week doesn't mean it's necessarily going to happen again."

The Swans boss did not discount the possibility of veteran midfielder Jude Bolton returning for the clash with Hawthorn after partially tearing his anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments just two weeks ago against Carlton.

But that proposition still remained unlikely despite the fact his recovery was expected to continue to rapidly improve this week.

"Jude's putting his hand up for it... (but) I'm not sure whether this week's the right time to bring him in," Longmire said.

Young forward Sam Reid, who returned from a knee injury of his own against the Dogs, pulled up okay and while vastly improved big man Mike Pyke rolled his ankle late on, Longmire said he was subbed out of the match as a precautionary measure and expected him to be right for the Hawks.

Pyke played one of his best games since arriving from Canada in 2008, kicking a personal best three goals and clunking a game-high four contested marks to be a huge influence on the result.

"He just keeps getting better Pykey," Longmire said of the 28-year-old former rugby international.

"He's come into the game at such a late age and his ability to learn and to listen and implement is second to none really.

"If you were to ask me at this point in the year would we be going with two genuine rucks at the start of the year, I probably would have said 'no', but he's been able to hold his spot through consistent performances and really contribute."

The match may have delivered the Bulldogs yet another flogging, but star midfielder Ryan Griffen provided a rare highlight by collecting a whopping 47 disposals and breaking the club record in the process.

"It was extraordinary wasn't it," Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney said of Griffen.

The 26-year-old appeared to twinge a groin in the dying stages of the match, but McCartney insisted Griffen was only suffering from fatigue and will be 'OK'.

The Bulldogs boss said the 82-point final margin wasn't a true reflection of the contest.

"In no way am I being disrespectful to Sydney, they are a fantastic footy team... they play the game the right way," McCartney said.

"The scoreboard was disappointing but the effort wasn't and the spirit wasn't but we paid a heavy price whenever we didn't complete the basics of the game well."

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1 Comments

  1. David01:01pm Monday 20th August 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    So Swans don't want to finish on top of the ladder then so be it. Hawks will beat Swans well next week to claim top stop and finish on top of the ladder.

    Reply
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