Sydney coach John Longmire has praised the effort of his young side as the Swans opened their campaign with a thrilling three-point victory in Adelaide on Saturday.

Missing the likes of superstar Lance Franklin, key forward Sam Reid and best and fairest runner-up George Hewett, the Swans were on the ropes early, trailing the Crows by three goals at quarter-time.

However, they dominated the match from then on, young gun Isaac Heeney booting four goals in the important road win, 11.8 (74) to 11.5 (71).

 "I thought we came across with a really good attitude," Longmire said.

"Even in the first quarter, we had a heap of tackles in the first quarter.

"All the mechanisms you measure effort with were really high.

"Even though we were behind on the scoreboard, it was just a bit of method.

"Our effort was really good.

"In the end, we were able to hang on because of that."

07:26 Mins
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Longmire post match - Rd 1, 2020

Coach John Longmire speaks to the media after the Swans Round 1 win.

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Hewett was named in the emergencies in a puzzling omission, but Longmire said he had an interrupted pre-season and expected him to return soon.

"He's just missed some training," Longmire said.

"Unfortunately, when he's been back training, he's had a couple of games that have been cancelled on him.

"He's absolutely in our best midfield group and we want him back as soon as we can."

Swans veterans Luke Parker (30 disposals) and Josh Kennedy (25 disposals) were outstanding, while Ollie Florent (21 touches) combined to play a key role in their 20-5 dominance of centre clearances.

06:26 Mins
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Highlights: Swans v Crows

The Crows and Swans clash in round one

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Crows coach Matthew Nicks said his side's inability to compete in that area put his defenders under pressure.

"We were beaten convincingly in centre bounce," Nicks said.

"That's a huge number, and what it does, it puts you on the back foot straight away.

"We played the game from our back half and we played it quite well, especially in patches.

"To expect to win a game from your back half, it doesn't happen very often."

Nicks has taken over a rebuilding list with the Crows fielding five players with less than 10 games of experience.

The Crows kicked the last two goals of the game before former captain Taylor Walker had a shot at goal with 20 seconds on the clock to put them in front, but his shot sailed wide.

"There were a lot of positives to come out of the game," Nicks said.

"We were really disappointed we didn't get the win in the end.

"Unfortunately, it didn't really click in until the end of the game and we left our run a little late."

Midfielder Brodie Smith sat out the third quarter after copping a heavy hit to his chest, however he finished the game and is expected to play next week.