Sydney coach John Longmire admits the venue change for the Swans’ AFL round-one match could provide challenges for Collingwood, but says it’s a great outcome for the code.
Collingwood CEO Gary Pert has described learning of the decision to switch the game from ANZ Stadium to the SCG through social media, rather than the AFL, as “disrespectful, unprofessional and inappropriate”.
Longmire on Wednesday commended Collingwood counterpart Nathan Buckley for his more-measured reaction to the switch, with the Magpies’ coach saying “it’s no skin off our nose”.
Asked about the issue of the venue change and the Pies’ reaction to it, Longmire said: “I can understand there’s some logistical challenges to it, but I thought that Nathan Buckley handled it really well.
“I know this is an unusual situation. I didn’t find out about it for instance until I got off a plane and read the press release.
“Obviously, Gary Pert’s words were very strong, but they were balanced really well, I thought, by Nathan.
“I, as a coach, understand there could be some challenges that present themselves but, in the end, I’d hope they are not insurmountable.
“It is a great thing for Australian rules football, I believe, in Sydney to be having Sydney Swans versus Collingwood round one at the SCG.”
Longmire said it was fantastic for Sydney to play all their home games at one venue even though they had some terrific experiences and a healthy win-loss record at ANZ Stadium.
The Magpies could be forgiven for feeling a little miffed at the switch given their vastly different records at the two grounds.
They have won 10 of 13 at the Olympic stadium, but have just a 7-13 record at the SCG.
Longmire conceded on Wednesday co-captain Jarrad McVeigh and fellow veteran Ben McGlynn were unlikely to be fit for the game.
Midfielder McVeigh is still battling his way back from knee surgery and McGlynn has a calf issue.
He said defender Ted Richards (calf) and key position player Sam Reid (hamstring) were “in the mix” for the season opener, despite missing out again this week and could play in the reserves the week before round one.
The Swans have brought co-captain Kieren Jack back for his first run of the season in Friday night’s NAB Challenge game against GWS at Sydney’s Drummoyne Oval.
Lance Franklin has again been named and boom youngster Isaac Heeney has been listed after overcoming knee tendonitis, which had forced him to sit out the second half of Sydney’s opening pre-season match.