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Longmire’s life membership

Swans Media - Tanya Paolucci  May 22, 2013 2:06 PM

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John Longmire has tasted premiership success as a player (1999) and senior coach (2012)

Sydney Swans coach John Longmire will join the AFL’s ‘300-Club’ this week, when he coaches his side against Collingwood at the MCG on Friday night.

The 300-game milestone, which will see Longmire qualify for AFL life membership, has been achieved over a career spanning more than two decades.

Longmire made his playing debut for North Melbourne in 1988 and played 200 premiership matches (including finals) and 25 pre-season matches with the Kangaroos and five state matches for New South Wales and Victoria. He has since coached the Swans in 57 matches and 12 pre-season matches.

A long-time friend of Longmire, Swans assistant coach John Blakey - who played 359 games in his own AFL playing career for North Melbourne and Fitzroy - said it is a terrific achievement for his former Kangaroos team mate to reach AFL life membership.

“It’s always great to see when someone was struck down by injury, which cost John a lot of his playing time, even though he still played a lot of football to play 200 games, to now join the 300 club,” Blakey told sydneyswans.com.au.

“He’s obviously fantastic to work with and was a great team mate and was a great friend as a team mate.

“We have a great working relationship now and our families are friendly and have known one another for many years, so it’s good to have that sort of working relationship with a good friend.

“I think it’s a fantastic achievement for a very, very good player and he continues that on with his coaching.”

Longmire achieved plenty of success throughout his playing career, including North Melbourne’s leading goal kicker for five consecutive years from 1990 – the year he also won the Coleman Medal -and achieved his dream of becoming a premiership player in his final game with the Kangaroos in 1999.

Since joining the Swans as the forward and ruck coach in 2002, Longmire enjoyed success as an assistant coach in the club’s 2005 premiership year before taking over the top job from Paul Roos in 2011, and tasted the ultimate success in just his second season at the helm, guiding the club to the 2012 premiership.

“John has achieved great success both as a player and as a coach,” Blakey said about Longmire’s career in the AFL.

“I guess as a coach you’re not the one who is out there doing it, but certainly you’re setting structures and team game plans and things like that, and John does that very well.

“I certainly think he enjoyed successful times as both a player and coach, there is no doubt about that, but I bet if you ask John what he preferred he’d still say he probably prefer being out there kicking a few goals if he still could!”

With AFL life membership now under both their belts, Blakey said he and Longmire can also enjoy some of the perks that come with it.

“We do have a bit of a joke running with the other coaches,” Blakey said.

“We actually rubbed the other coaches nose in the fact that we’ll be up behind the glass come Grand Final day having a nice cocktail and beverage while they are out there having their meat pie.

“(AFL life membership) certainly does have a few perks and I’m sure John and I will certainly enjoy some of them together.”