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Longmire confident in talent

Longmire press conference - July 9, 2018 John Longmire speaks to the media at the 2018 Swans Squad clinic.
Jordan Dawson is among a number of players pushing their case for senior selection in the NEAFL.

Sydney Swans coach John Longmire is backing an up-and-coming wave of talent to step up in response to the side’s injury troubles.

Veterans Jarrad McVeigh (collarbone), Kieren Jack (knee) and Dan Hannebery (calf) all suffered injuries in Sydney’s loss to Geelong at the SCG last Thursday.

Forward Sam Reid is due for another bout of surgery after injuring his Achilles in the NEAFL side’s clash with GWS in Wollongong on Saturday, while defender Lewis Melican is set for a hamstring operation.

But Longmire has no doubt a long list of youngsters who have starred at senior level and in the NEAFL can stand tall throughout the testing run ahead.

“Our young players, and particularly for the first half of the year, have played key roles for us,” Longmire said.

“They’ve been really important for us. It’s just a matter of them continuing to do what they’ve been doing.

“Whether you’re a young player or a player that will get an opportunity this week who’s been playing in the NEAFL, it’s just about playing the role we want them to play in the senior team.

“We’re confident those guys we bring in this week will provide us with that.” 

Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills and Jake Lloyd have in recent years all made their mark at AFL level with Oliver Florent, Ben Ronke, Will Hayward and a host of other youngsters are following in their footsteps.

Florent took out the Round 11 Rising Star nomination after producing a brilliant performance in Sydney’s win over Carlton.

The blossoming midfielder is now set to meet North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, a venue at which he showed outstanding pace, finishing ability and courage to kick a match-sealing goal at the death against the Western Bulldogs in Round 4.

A number of Swans turning heads in the NEAFL could be set for stints in the big time of their own, with Harry Marsh, Nic Newman and Jordan Dawson all close to earning senior recalls. 

Defender Colin O’Riordan and ruckman Darcy Cameron have carried the torch in the NEAFL in strong pushes for AFL debuts.

O’Riordan was the pick of the lot in the NEAFL side’s 46-point win over GWS, raking in 39 touches, 12 marks and two goals to help Sydney to an eighth win on the trot.

Longmire said a number of young guns had thrown their names in the ring.

“Colin’s a chance and he’s a chance regardless of injuries,” Longmire said.

“He’s been able to be consistent for quite a while, as has Newman and Marsh.

“There are a number of guys there that can come in if required and play well. Those guys are absolutely in the mix for senior selection.”