Sydney coach John Longmire is confident his team can rebound from the biggest loss of his coaching career, but seeks deeds not words against another AFL juggernaut.
The Swans’ premiership credentials were cast into serious doubt by a crushing 89-point home loss to Hawthorn at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Rarely in recent memory has a team been so competitive on the stats sheet, but beaten so soundly on the scoreboard.
The Swans logged more disposals, contested possessions tackles, and clearances than Hawthorn, who knocked them out of third spot.
They tallied just one less inside 50 and two fewer clearances, but for all their possession scored only 7.15 to Hawthorn’s 23.8
It was the biggest score the Swans have conceded under Longmire and the largest loss of his tenure, with both previous marks occurring in last year’s grand final against the Hawks.
Longmire rued Sydney’s inability to capitalise on their scoring opportunities and hit targets, while marvelling at Hawthorn’s ruthless efficiency in those key areas.
“Their conversions and their transfer of play from one end of the ground to the other was absolutely elite,” Longmire said.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Swans, who face the competition’s second-highest scoring side when they play the rampant West Coast Eagles in Perth next Sunday.
“They are a pretty powerful team as well and able to hit the scoreboard, so we need to make sure we get our pressure up a lot better,” Longmire said,
“Not only our pressure around the ball, but outside the contest as well.”
Asked if he was confident Sydney would bounce back against the Eagles Longmire said “yeah, but it’s one thing saying it, it’s another thing doing it.”
“We’ve normally got a group that’s able to be pretty resilient, but we’ve got to make sure we do it.”
They may have to do it without midfielder Craig Bird (calf) and forward-ruckman Kurt Tippett (hand).
Another potential loss is fullback Ted Richards, who was reported for striking Sam Mitchell.
Questioned about whether he was worried about losing Richards a sombre Longmire replied “I’ve got a few other concerns going through my mind at the moment.”
Just about the only positive he could salvage from the wreckage of Saturday’s defeat was a solid effort from rookie ruckman Toby Nankervis.