It might be premature to say the balance of AFL power in Sydney is changing, but Swans coach John Longmire has been given plenty of food for thought after his side slipped to a 34-point NAB Challenge loss to the Giants.
The Swans kicked the first goal of the game on Friday but were outplayed for most of the remainder of the match at Sydney’s Drummoyne Oval.
Both sides were missing around half a dozen starters, but significantly Sydney had most of their star midfielders on board apart from co-captain Jarrad Mcveigh.
Perennial finals contender Sydney seemed to lack the speed and desire of a Giants team looking for a maiden finals appearance this season.
Longmire said it was hard to find more than a handful of players who performed well.
He was disappointed the Giants were able to frequently sweep into attack mode without being placed under sufficient pressure.
“The work rate to get across and stop the opposition from using it was probably pretty low,” Longmire said.
“We’re not happy with the way we played and we need to get better next week.”
Most of Longmire’s stars have already played two Challenge games, but he has no intention of spelling some of them from the club’s final pre-season hitout against Carlton.
“No, no, no, we’ll be playing them,” Longmire said.
“There was a plan to start with to play most of our blokes for the three and we’ll be using all of those three.”
Lance Franklin accumulated 14 possessions, two marks and a goal and was particularly good in the second quarter, but otherwise didn’t impact on the game.
“He was okay,” was Longmire’s curt assessment of his star spearhead’s performance.
There was the odd crumb of comfort for Longmire, with rookie list player Tom Papley kicking a couple of late goals and showing enough to suggest he could add some depth in the small forward department.
“The longer the game went, the more at ease he looked,” Longmire said.
“We were smashed in the forward 50 tackles and he was pretty lively in that part of the ground and finished off with two goals so that was pleasing.
“We had an advantage in some of the hitout works, particularly at boundary throw-ins, but didn’t convert that into clearances and all of those little things we need to work on.”
Longmire wasn’t aware of any injury issues arising from the game.