Safely ensconced in a new three-year deal set to make him Sydney’s longest-serving coach, John Longmire has one thing on his mind – knocking Hawthorn off their AFL perch.
There’s an understated sense of pride in Longmire, having steered the Swans to the 2012 premiership, 2014 grand final, and finals every other season since taking the reins in 2011.
Accompanying that is a strong appreciation for his predecessor Paul Roos, under whom he served a near decade-long apprenticeship, and for the backing of a stable club.
Longmire’s tenure will now continue until at least the end of the 2020 campaign, by which time he would have become the longest-serving coach in the history of South Melbourne/Sydney.
The 45-year-old currently sits third on the Swans’ all-time list with 138 matches, behind his immediate predecessors Roos (202) and Rodney Eade (152).
Remarkable as it is, he hasn’t given it much thought.
Rather, Longmire is interested in what he can still achieve in that time.
“We’re all chasing Hawthorn,” said Longmire, a long-time friend of Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson.
“The standard they’ve been able to set over the last few years has been extremely high, so we’re all striving to get better.
“The challenge is we know Alastair and the Hawthorn footy club are doing the same thing.
“So it doesn’t get any easier, but we look forward to it.”
Sydney were the last club to take a premiership off the Hawks, beating them to the 2012 title by 10 points before Clarkson’s defending champions charged to a title hat-trick, including 2014’s grand-final demolition of the Swans.
Longmire’s men are also the last team to defeat Hawthorn this season, in round nine at the MCG.
Seven games later the fierce rivalry will play out again in Thursday night’s top-of-the-table blockbuster at the SCG.
A win will lift the second-placed Swans past the Hawks on percentage to reclaim top spot.
A loss could spit them out of the top four depending on other results later in the round.
Longmire said winning all four quarters would be key, as they did in last Friday’s ransacking of Geelong.
“Hawthorn are a gun team,” Longmire said.
“There’s not a weakness in their side and it’s no coincidence they’ve won the past three flags and they’re on top of the ladder by a game.
“They’re massive competitors – that probably gets underestimated a little bit and is probably the key to their success over the past few years.
“It doesn’t matter what’s been achieved in the past, they’re always hungry to keep improving.
“When you play them you know you’re going to get tested, that’s what our blokes know is in front of them on Thursday night – they’ll be tested every minute of the game.”