It wasn’t quite a case of no Buddy, no Tippo, no worries, but the Sydney Swans showed good old fashioned guts can take you a long, long way in the AFL.
Without their suspended forwards Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett and with Gary Rohan and Ted Richards injured during the game, Sydney dug as deep as they have at any time this season to inflict a demoralising 10-point loss Port Adelaide at the SCG on Thursday night.
Fears Sydney would struggle to kick a match-winning score were allayed, as nine men contributed 14 goals, with Adam Goodes and Sam Reid each booting three and Josh Kennedy two.
It was the champion quartet of Sydney midfielders who stood tallest at the end of the game.
Dan Hannebery (34 touches eight marks and seven tackles) and Josh Kennedy (33 possessions, 17 of them contested, 11 clearances, eight tackles, seven marks and nine inside 50s), turned in towering performances.
“He sets high standards Josh and his form over the last few weeks has actually been alright, but he’s very hard on himself and I thought (against Port) he was very good,” Longmire said.
Luke Parker (26 disposals and eight tackles) and Kieren Jack (25 touches and nine tackles) radiated aggression, while youngsters Jake Lloyd (26 possessions) and Tom Mitchell (22 touches and nine tackles) were also up for the fight.
Matthew Broadbent clearly did Port no favours when he deliberately put his body into Parker while the Swans champion was getting treatment for a knock at a time when the match was in the balance in the third quarter.
“I saw Luke’s response afterwards, I thought he had a great last quarter,” Sydney coach John Longmire said.
Asked if he was annoyed by Broadbent’s act, Longmire said it was unnecessary, while Port coach Ken Hinkley said he didn’t see the incident.
Longmire said Richards was fine after the game, but would leave it to his medical staff to determine whether the concussed defender would be right for their next game at Brisbane on Sunday week.
He wasn’t sure about the severity of Rohan’s hamstring problem, the latest setback in the injury-plagued career of the popular speedster.
“Disappointing to lose him, he’s been playing well, he’s had a good season so far,” Longmire said.
He pointed out Sydney fielded nine players with 60 or fewer games senior experience, with Tasmanian ruckman Toby Nankervis making his debut.
“I think he was pretty good, he competed well,” Longmire said.
“He knows where to go and he’s an old fashioned footballer and when the ball is in his areas he makes you earn it.”