Sydney coach John Longmire admits few of the theories about how to contain Brent Harvey have succeeded, as he strives to find a way to stifle his former teammate’s influence on Saturday’s AFL semi-final.
Longmire was a colleague of Harvey’s for four seasons until he retired following North Melbourne’s 1999 premiership win.
Harvey is still powering on at 37, racking up 31 touches and two goals in game number 407, Sunday’s elimination final win over Richmond.
“There’s many different theories about how you contain `Boomer’ (Harvey), but not many have succeeded because he’s such a good player,” Longmire said on Monday.
“We’ve tried a couple of different approaches with him in the past. Some have worked, some haven’t.
“But what you do know is he’s a fierce competitor, he’s extremely experienced in finals football and he’s a real livewire and he’s smart.
“We’ll put some time into him, but we know what he’s good at. He’s a very good player, he finishes off his work so well.”
Longmire was also wary of the Kangaroos other forward options.
“They’ve got some firepower at the moment, the Kangas,” Longmire said.
“They are playing with real presence. We saw Jarrad Waite have a sensational game (against Richmond), (Shaun) Higgins, (Ben) Brown.
“These guys in their front half are really providing a real option for them, so we have to look at `Boomer’, but also the rest of them are in really good form.”
Longmire wasn’t fretting over the possibility of North tagger Ben Jacobs locking down a key midfielder like Josh Kennedy or Dan Hannebery, after he negated Richmond captain Trent Cotchin.
“You’ve got to treat it as a compliment when a player like that goes to you and the opposition coaching staff really respect you enough to put a run with player on you,” Longmire said.
And he’s not paying any attention to last season’s 71-point preliminary final win over North at ANZ Stadium, the venue for this weekend’s match, nor the 16-point victory over them at Etihad Stadium in round 11 this year.
“Form and personnel over what happened last time and what happened last year are really irrelevant, you need to look at what’s in front of you right now,” he said.