Sydney coach John Longmire has downplayed the distraction of reports for his star forwards Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett in the short turnaround before their next AFL game.
Longmire rarely speaks above a whisper at post-match media conferences after a Swans loss.
So, it was no surprise when he was virtually inaudible after Friday night’s stunning second-half SCG fadeout against Richmond.
Sydney went from leading by 33 early in the third quarter to losing by 18, a massive 51-point swing in less than a half.
The galling loss was compounded by the reports of Franklin for rough conduct on Shane Edwards and Tippett for striking Dylan Grimes.
Sydney won’t know the result of the match review panel’s deliberations until Monday but, with an SCG appointment against Port Adelaide looming just three days later, they will begin their preparations on Sunday.
“When it (the MRP’s decisions) is in front of us, it’s a fact – so we’ll deal with it,” Longmire said.
“I don’t see it being a huge issue.”
Although some pundits were speculating about suspensions for the two power forwards, there was support for them from an unlikely source – Tigers’ coach Damien Hardwick.
“I think they will both be okay, which is alright – we want to see the good players playing,” Hardwick said.
“Accidents happen. The tribunal, I think, has done a pretty good job at this stage with those sorts of incidents.”
Longmire dismissed the previous week’s bye as a reason for Sydney’s performance, pointing out they started the game well.
He attributed the result to Richmond’s work rate and intensity lifting and Sydney’s dropping in the second half and produced damning statistics to support his theory.
“We had 22 less ground balls in the second half; we had 31 less uncontested possessions,” Longmire said.
“We had three players with 10-plus possessions in the second half compared to 10 players in the first half.”
He hoped to have ruckman Mike Pyke back for Thursday’s game after he pulled out of the Richmond clash with a knee complaint.
“He was still a little bit sore at training during the week, so it was a bit rushed to bring him in this week,” Longmire said.
“But obviously having the two weeks off, the bye and this week, gives him a chance next week but we’ll have to wait and see during the week.”
One piece of good news on Friday for Longmire was the announcement key midfielder Dan Hannebery, who logged a team-high 29 touches against the Tigers, had signed a five-year contract extension.
“Dan is a quality young player; he’s one that drives things pretty strongly,” Longmire said.
“We’re really pleased obviously and he’s an important player for us.”