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The Swan way

SwansTV: Reid and Longmire contract press conference Full press conference announcing the contract extensions of Sam Reid and John Longmire
The seamless transition between Paul Roos and John Longmire has seen Longmire's contract extended to 2014

THE SYDNEY Swans are an incredibly understated AFL club that likes to keep a lid on hype and expectation and just quietly go about its business.

It is a formula that has helped produce a long period of sustained success, picking up a premiership, another Grand Final and eight finals appearances in the past nine years.

The Swans have done it all with a minimum of fuss and without the type of scandals and front-page incidents that so often strike football clubs - save for the odd Barry Hall punch.

They infamously had a "no dickheads" recruiting policy during former coach Paul Roos' time at the helm and they have a culture the envy of sporting clubs across the country.

But even they are finding it hard to stifle their excitement about what lies ahead.

Since ending a record 72-year drought with their 2005 flag, and subsequent defeat to West Coast in the 2006 decider, the Swans have been slowly but steadily reinventing their list.

Veterans such as Adam Goodes, Ryan O'Keefe, Jude Bolton, Jarrad McVeigh, Rhyce Shaw and Ted Richards are still performing at or near their peak.

Then there are the likes of Josh Kennedy, Dan Hannebery, Shane Mumford, Sam Reid, Alex Johnson, Luke Parker, Gary Rohan and Lewis Jetta, who have all joined the club in the past two years and all have room for improvement.

The smooth operating machine that is the Swans clicked up another gear on Friday when they announced coach John Longmire had extended his contract for two more years.

Perhaps even more significantly, Reid added a mammoth five years to his deal, keeping one of the AFL's better prospects locked in red and white until at least 2017.

For such a restrained club, chief executive Andrew Ireland was bordering on effusive during Friday's press conference when he revealed he was "positive" and "excited" by what lies ahead.

"We obviously had a really successful period with the '05 premiership and grand final in '06," he said.

"I guess every club is obligated to maximise the chance to win a premiership in that window, but you're also conscious of the future.

"In Paul's last year he really allowed John to lead the way in terms of planning for the future and where our list needed to go.

"It doesn't happen by chance, you have to work at it, and John has led that really strongly and we're really positive and excited about the opportunity to come out of winning a premiership and not bottom out.

"We ended up sixth last year with a young list and we think we've got some upside and we're in a really healthy position moving forward."

Longmire's ascension to the head coaching role was seamless, gradually increasing his responsibilities on match day and in terms of list management until taking over from Roos at the end of 2010.

With barely a blip, he led the Swans to the semi-finals in his first year in charge, where they lost to Hawthorn.

Longmire has already managed something Roos never could, knocking off eventual premiers the Cats in Geelong late in the season to give an indication of the Swans' potential.

He was also unusually forthright on Friday, saying he believes his young players compare favourably with any other club in the AFL.

"I’m obviously really appreciative of both the club and the board's decision to extend my contract," he said.

"I'm really excited by the group of younger players we've got coming through. I think we've got some of the more talented younger players coming through that are going around.

"I'm really pleased with the mix we've got with the experienced players, who are doing a really good job helping them as well.

"There's certainly exciting times ahead and there's no better example than Sam's commitment to the club for the long-term.

"Sam obviously sees a future with us being competitive over the next few years."

Reid himself is also excited about the future and said the quality of the Swans' list was a significant factor in his decision to stay in Sydney.

Other Swans have received five-year deals before, such as Goodes and Michael O'Loughlin, but they are still very rare and an indication of how valuable Reid is to the club.

The 19-year-old had a little tongue-in-cheek dig at his older brother, Collingwood's Ben Reid, during his press conference.

"I have," he said when asked if he'd spoken to Ben.

"He hasn't got as long a deal as me, so I know what I’m doing for the next few years and he doesn't.

"He's happy for me."

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily of the AFL or the clubs