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Swans striving to build on positives

Longmire press conference- March 25, 2019 Coach John Longmire addresses the media as we head into preparation for round 2.

Sydney Swans star Aliir Aliir says the danger the side posed when entering its forward 50 late in Saturday’s game needs to be a sign of what’s to come.

Aliir underscored the threat Sydney presented when its midfield linked with imposing forward duo Lance Franklin and Sam Reid, but he said the Swans were left to rue inconsistency in their forward-50 entries in Saturday’s loss to the Western Bulldogs.

Sydney’s eight-goal-to-three second half closed the margin to just four points in the final term, with a boost in forward-50 supply seeing Franklin, Reid and debutant Nick Blakey begin to stamp their impact on the game – and Aliir says the Swans need to focus on those promising passages of play.

“Early on we panicked a little bit. We were just bombing into the forward line and guys like Easton Wood were coming off their man and cleaning up. We didn’t really play the way we wanted to play,” Aliir told 3AW post-match.

“Towards the end we got a bit better and we were able to chop them up and go outside, go inside and go to ‘Reidy’ and ‘Buddy’, who are both great overhead.

“There were patches where we did enter the forward 50 well and patches where we didn’t, so that’s one area we need to work on before the game against Adelaide.”

Aliir enjoyed a breakout year as a defender in 2016 and locked down a spot in Sydney’s back six over the second half of last season, but the towering 24-year-old has always given coach John Longmire an option in all three thirds of the ground.

He recently played as the Swans’ sole ruckman in their JLT Community Series match against the Gold Coast Suns in absence of Callum Sinclair, and Saturday’s duel with the Dogs saw him pinch-hit in the ruck.

Aliir says he relishes the ability to play all over the ground.

“One of the strengths of mine is being able to play different positions,” Aliir said. 

“Whenever the coach wants me in the ruck or up forward I’m happy to put my hand up if it’s best for the team. I don’t mind going inside if it means giving Sinclair a chop-out because we’re down in our ruck stocks. I’m comfortable with playing anywhere on the ground if I’m playing senior football.”