Eight-goal hero Lance Franklin stole the headlines on Sunday evening, but Sydney coach John Longmire says the four-time Coleman Medallist wasn’t the only contributor in the side’s win over West Coast.
The Swans left Perth’s Optus Stadium with a 29-point victory and Longmire said post-match the midfield played a major hand in the win.
“I thought we were able to neutralise the contest around the ruck,” Longmire said.
“Our boys, particularly with the hard-ball gets, were pretty fierce in that area. They needed to be because you’re not going to get first use of the footy.
“Kennedy, Parker and Jones worked really hard and particularly when the game was up for grabs in the last quarter. They found another gear and particularly in the contest.
“It was pretty slippery because we had a bit of rain there, so we knew West Coast was after a territory battle. To be able to break even in there and even get your nose in front at various times was what we wanted.”
The Swans topped the disposal-count 393 to 339 and clearances 47 to 38, while they registered 160 contested possessions to the Eagles’ 138.
Seventy-nine per cent of Sydney’s disposals were by handball, while just 50 per cent of West Coast’s were by hand – an indication of the Swans’ strong ability in congestion.
Vice-captain Luke Parker (32 disposals, nine tackles, one goal) led the way in the Swans’ impressive midfield showing, while Jake Lloyd (29 disposals, one goal) also proved a threat.
Longmire said young gun Isaac Heeney was another standout despite a shift in position.
“When we lost Reid and Rohan out of our front half this week, we put Heeney up front and he just competed really well,” Longmire said.
“He threw himself at the ball and pressured at all opportunities.
“We’re wary of the ability of the West Coast defence to be able to take marks off kicks and entries and Heeney certainly contributed to bring the ball to ground. When he went on the ball he was just as good.”
Longmire said it was an honour for the Swans to take part in a special chapter of the new stadium’s history.
“We’re thrilled to be able to play here,” Longmire said.
“It’s just a wonderful experience to be able to play the first game of AFL men’s footy at this stadium.”
He said vice-captain Dan Hannebery, who eluded Round 1 selection, had a “good hit-out” last Friday and will look to have another big week on the training track.
Sam Reid is also in the mix to meet Port Adelaide on Sunday.