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Longmire: Young boys led the way

Ben Collins, AFL.com.au  June 17, 2017 7:23 PM

Longmire post match - Rd 13, 2017 A very relieved John Longmire fronts the media following his side's epic come-back-from behind win against Richmond.
AFL 2017 Round 13 - Richmond v Sydney

John Longmire congratulates Isaac Heeney shortly after victory was sealed at the MCG on Saturday.

A few of our younger boys, in particular, were fantastic … it was probably our young boys that helped lead the way

Proud Sydney coach John Longmire has lauded the efforts of emerging runners Nic Newman and Zak Jones after the Swans came from 36 points down to upset Richmond at the MCG on Saturday. 

The Swans conceded the first six goals but rattled on eight of the last nine goals to win by nine points – a victory Longmire said was the result of winning more disputed ball, with the younger players leading the way.

Incredibly, after being 0-6 – the worst start to a season for a grand finalist – Sydney is now within a game of the top eight after winning five of its past six games.

"It's a good one," Longmire said when asked where it rated among the comebacks he'd been involved with at the club. 

"At the MCG, against a top-four team, and not playing well (early) – all those things combined make it a real challenge to climb back up. 

"A few of our younger boys, in particular, were fantastic … it was probably our young boys that helped lead the way, which was good … Nic Newman, Zak Jones, those guys, were really good, and the leaders jumped up as well."

Midfielder Jones, 22, and creative runner Newman, 24, led the Swans' possession count with 26 apiece. 

Though disappointed with his team's output in the first half, Longmire emphasised that Richmond was a good team "playing hard, aggressive, pressure football".

"We needed to max it out in the second half to get our noses over the line," he said. 

"To our players' credit, they just kept persisting. There was blokes that weren't playing very well at the start that really turned their games around and really contributed." 

One such Swan was skipper and premier midfielder Josh Kennedy, who in the first three quarters had just 12 possessions (including only two kicks) and no clearances, before exploding with 11 touches, three clearances and an inspiring long goal in a frantic final term. 

"He had a quiet three quarters, which was unlike him and, to his absolute credit, he turned it all around in the last quarter and was fantastic," the coach said of Kennedy.

Longmire was loath to remark on the incident that resulted in superstar Lance Franklin being reported for rough conduct on Connor Menadue. 

"I didn't even know he got reported," Longmire said.

"The bloke got up, didn't he, just afterwards? I can't comment if he got reported."

The Swans coach will be hoping Franklin will be available for the Swans' big encounter with Essendon at the SCG on Friday night.

"We haven't got much wriggle room – we know that, the players know it, the coaches know it," Longmire said. 

"And we know we have to bring our maximum effort every week. To our credit, after not bringing it early on, we were able to turn it around, which should give the players some real confidence to do that during the course of a game."