Sydney Swans coach John Longmire has hailed the redeveloped Lakeside Oval as a “sensational” resource for the future of the club.
Excitement was in the air on Tuesday as the Swans set foot on the Moore Park facility for their first training session since its multimillion-dollar upgrade, which has seen the venue increase to the size of Marvel Stadium and roll out an improved surface.
It means the Swans now have at their disposal a training ground of the redeveloped Lakeside Oval’s size for the first time in history, a major step in the club’s relocation to a new facility.
The club hopes to open the doors of the Sydney Swans HQ and Community Centre at Moore Park’s Royal Hall of Industries ahead of season 2021, but Lakeside Oval will remain as the Swans’ primary training venue.
Longmire underlined the significance of the project.
“The new ground is one of many resources that’s going to be sensational for the future of the footy club. To look out here today and see this full-sized training ground right next to the SCG is really exciting, and it’s something we should be really proud about as a footy club,” Longmire told reporters on the Lakeside Oval boundary.
“We feel like we’ve had nothing in the past that’s hindered us from being successful, but it’s just great to now have a full-sized training ground. To be able to have it so close in proximity to the SCG, and considering the unbelievable new facilities coming on board next year, it’s a really exciting time. It’s great to be able to provide these resources for our players and we’re really looking forward to the future of the club.”
The opening of Sydney’s new training venue wasn’t the only topic of history generating discussion at Tuesday’s press conference, with Longmire set to surpass Paul Roos as the most-capped Swans coach on Saturday afternoon.
Roos coached Sydney in 202 games in the years spanning 2002-2010, before Longmire took charge ahead of season 2011.
Longmire arrived at the club ahead of season 2002 and worked under Roos as an assistant coach until the handover took place.
The Sydney mentor will overtake Roos as the Swans face the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba in Saturday’s Round 7 fixture.
Longmire is immensely grateful for the influence Roos has had on his coaching journey.
“He was and still is such an important mentor of mine. I wouldn’t be doing this job without him. I’m very appreciative of the guidance, help and assistance he’s provided me over such a long period of time,” Longmire said.
“He’s been such a quality person to learn the craft under, I’m very appreciative of that and I’m very proud of the milestone.
“I’m very proud to be able to pass Paul Roos. He’s a legend of this footy club. He’s got a fairly big statue over at the SCG and to be taking the games record from him is something I’m very proud of.”