Sydney Swans coach John Longmire says he’s impressed with the club’s senior players commitment to pre-season with a majority of the squad who were expected to start on December 6 already training with the first-four year players.

It was the first official day of pre-season that saw the entire squad together since the end of the 2021 season, although not the first time there have been some familiar faces immerse themselves into training.

Senior players Luke Parker, Isaac Heeney, and Tom Papley have been amongst a contingent of players who have joined early to get a head-start on preparations for the 2022 campaign, with Longmire insisting they have had a profound impact on the younger members of the playing group.

"Most of the guys have been back even though they haven’t needed to be," Longmire said.

"They have been training for a few weeks now which is great, they have been coming in and out of the program, and the younger guys really appreciate that.

"The older guys know they still need to do the work and they might as well do it with the younger guys, so it’s been great to see that they have been coming in and out of the program while they’re not required to be here.

"We have let them prepare themselves and generally they prepare really well, so they have that responsibility."

06:39 Mins
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Longmire press conference - 6 December, 2021

John Longmire fronts the media as the entire playing group return to pre-season training, with the senior figures joining the one-four year players at Lakeside Oval.

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After a roller-coaster 2021 campaign that saw the Swans on the road for an extensive period due to the COVID-19 outbreak, fans in Sydney will be treated their first live AFL game since Round 13 in mid March 2022 with a blockbuster Round 1 fixture confirmed against cross-town rivals, the GIANTS at Accor Stadium (previously ANZ Stadium).

Longmire was ecstatic for members and fans who have been deprived of live football for a large part of the last two seasons.

"It’s fantastic. We saw at the start of last year when we were able to have crowds that it was great to have the crowds back," he said.

"They got behind us here in Sydney, and it’s really important for the AFL industry to have crowds and content early on in the season, and to be able to have a derby first up is great for the fans."

The fixture will also have the prospect of Lance Franklin kicking his 1000th career goal, with the 34-year-old just five majors shy of the rare feat. 

While Longmire understands the magnitude of the milestone, which he believes may not happen again in our lifetime, he says it is not a primary focus amongst the team moving forward into the opening game of the year.

"Hopefully he is ready to go and has a good summer," Longmire said.

"He has been training well up until now, so we have just got to manage him from here on in to get him to Round 1 and for him to be feeling as good as he possibly can.

"Whenever that happens (his 1000th goal) it would be a wonderful thing for him, but it’s not the focus of the team at the moment, as you can imagine. But it’s a wonderful personal achievement, and I don’t know whether it will be seen again in this day of age."