Sydney coach John Longmire has mooted a much-diminished role for dual Brownlow medallist Adam Goodes this season, insisting the move should come as no surprise.
The Swans’ games record holder, playing in his 17th AFL campaign, was relegated to the substitute’s vest on Saturday and did not enter the fray in the 48-point win over Port Adelaide until midway through the final term.
Longmire said he’d picked his best side to start the game, sparking suggestions from former Sydney champion Jude Bolton that his two-time premiership-winning teammate Goodes may have played on a season too long.
But Longmire responded on Monday saying Bolton was in the same boat not too long ago.
“Jude might have a short memory. People were saying that about him after 2012 but he went on and played a lot of football in 2013,” he said.
Longmire said he had yet to decide how to use Goodes in Saturday’s derby against GWS, while stressing that the 35-year-old would be more carefully managed this season.
“Whatever role Adam’s asked to play, he plays it and he’s understanding of that,” he said.
“But I don’t think it’s a surprise that he’ll be starting as a sub at different times throughout the year.
“Whether it’s a sub role or not playing every week that will evolve as the course of the season evolves.
“I don’t think there’s any surprises that he’s not going to play every minute of every game.
“If we’re thinking of getting the best out of him and the best role for the team, we’ll make that decision as we see fit.
“It’s just the smart way to use him and manage him throughout the year.”
GWS will enter Saturday’s SCG encounter having begun a season with two straight wins for the first time after their emphatic victory over Melbourne in Canberra.
The Giants produced a stunning third quarter, kicking nine unanswered goals to turn the game on its head.
“Anyone who saw that third quarter on the weekend saw them at their best in terms of what damage they can do,” said Longmire.
“Their midfield group is incredible. They’ve got players like Shane Mumford and Callan Ward who are really tough and their younger kids have learned to play that way too.
“They’re a really challenging team and we’ll have to be really good this week to make sure we compete well against them.”