Sydney coach John Longmire predicts the Swans will remain competitive after suffering their earliest AFL finals elimination in four years and the retirement of club legend Adam Goodes.
The 26-point semi-final home loss to North Melbourne on Saturday meant Sydney failed to make at least the preliminary final for the first time since 2011.
Club games record holder Goodes announced his retirement in the sheds after the game
Goodes and another trusty club stalwart in rebounding defender Rhyce Shaw, have called time on their respective career.
Shaw and Goodes apart, Sydney might also lose speedster Lewis Jetta, who reportedly is seeking a trade to take him home to WA.
The unavailability of forwards Lance Franklin and Sam Reid and midfielders Kieren Jack and Luke Parker for Saturday’s game raised questions about the Swans’ depth.
However, Longmire, who has steered Sydney to the finals in each of his first five seasons in charge, was adamant the Swans would continue to be competitive.
“This year we won 16 games which is one off what we won last year, when we won 17 which is the highest in our history,” Longmire said,
“We’ve got some good kids coming through and some of our best players, (Josh) Kennedy is 27,(Dan) Hannebery, 24, Parker, 22.
“So I think we’re going to be competitive.”
Shaw didn’t expect Sydney to be any less competitive next year.
“If you look at our record over the last 15 years, I think it’s pretty good, and I think we stand up in any occasion, any year and I don’t think next year is going to be any different,” Shaw said.
Asked what Sydney needed to close the gap on the teams that have finished ahead of them Shaw said “I don’t think we’re far off to be honest.”
Both Shaw and Longmire praised the resilience of their side as they battled hard despite a mounting injury toll in the final weeks of their campaign.
“Towards the back end of the season, every week there was something bob up,” Longmire said.
“We still showed remarkable resilience.
“Ifs, buts and maybes don’t count.”