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Longmire sees good side of forward's bravado

Nick Bowen  April 14, 2018 9:50 PM

Longmire post match - Rd 4, 2018 Coach John Longmire speaks to the media after a thrilling win over the Western Bulldogs.

John Longmire would have preferred Oliver Florent had not played on after marking late in Sydney's thrilling win over the Western Bulldogs, but the Swans coach happily conceded that in kicking the sealing goal the youngster had "lived by the sword" and won.

With less than two minutes to play in Saturday's game at Etihad Stadium, the Swans were clinging to a one-point lead. The Bulldogs had kicked the previous two goals and had all the momentum.

But after the Swans' defence repelled a Dogs' attack, Isaac Heeney accepted a Josh Kennedy handball near the boundary line and, despite Jack Macrae's best efforts to smother, sent a quick kick towards an open Swans' forward half.

His kick found Florent, who marked on the run. Glancing back to find Bulldogs ruckman Tim English was his only immediate opponent, Florent did not break stride.

He took one bounce and put the afterburners on – Florent is renowned at the Swans for his speed – but any thoughts he had of running into an open goal were soon dispelled when the 205cm English showed impressive dash to close on him.

Darting deftly to his right to elude the big Dog, Florent took aim and bounced the ball through from 45m.

The 19-year-old's kick never looked like missing, but Longmire told reporters after the game he would rather the forward had held up play by going back to take his kick.

"That might have been a preference at that particular point in time," Longmire said with a laugh.

"Any way what will be, will be. I had an old coach who used to say you live by the sword, (you) die by the sword and he went for it and he kicked it. We'll take that as well.

"It was good to see him kick it, the young kid. Sometimes it's great as a young bloke, isn't it? You don't have any fear, you just go about it and what will be, will be.

"That's what's good about him. I just spoke to him then and he just said, 'What's the problem? I went back and kicked it'."

The Swans trailed by 22 points early in the second term of Saturday's game, but clawed their way back to 10 points down at half-time thanks to an Isaac Heeney goal on the half-time siren.

After an absorbing battle with Western Bulldogs captain Easton Wood in the first half, Lance Franklin started to flex his muscles after half-time and the Swans twice got out to 14-point leads.

But they could not put the Dogs away until Florent's late goal and did so despite being well beaten in disposals (344-397), clearances (26-36), inside 50s (42-60) and tackles (47-57).

Asked how his players had come back and won despite the Bulldogs' statistical dominance, Longmire said they had simply willed themselves across the line.

"I don't think there was one thing (that proved the difference), we just found a way in the end," Longmire said.

"They had more scoring shots and there are a few of those things that you look at and we were a bit fortunate with, for instance, the inside 50 differential.

"We've won before (after losing) the inside 50 differential and just finding a way.

"And I think that's what it was in the end, (we) just found a way to win it and you've just got to do that."

Franklin sent a scare through the Swans' coaching staff midway through the second quarter when he appeared to injure his left shoulder in a marking contest.

But the spearhead did not leave the ground and finished as the game's most influential player with 3.4 and 10 marks, four of them contested. 

"I must admit I looked at it and I thought he'd hurt it, but it was just a knock and he was fine after that," Longmire said.

"I was just talking to him then – he's fine, he's good."