Sydney Swans coach John Longmire said fans should expect to see some new faces when the NAB Cup kicks off at Blacktown on February 24.
This article first appeared on sydneyswans.com.au
Following a gruelling training camp in Coffs Harbour in northern New South Wales, Longmire said the Swans are likely to play some of the club’s newest recruits in the early stages of the pre-season competition.
The Swans kick off their pre-season campaign at Blacktown International Sportspark on Sunday, February 24 in round-robin matches against the GWS GIANTS and Carlton.
Former rookie Harry Cunningham (pictured) played in all of the Swans' 2012 NAB Cup campaign and was selected for his senior debut in Round 1 last year before being added to the senior list for the 2013 season.
“There will certainly be some chances for some of our newer players to be running around in our first game in particular,” Longmire told SwansTV.
“Probably in the first two games there will be some new faces that the supporters will see, which will be really good and exciting to get a bit of a look at them.
“They are only early into their hopefully long AFL careers and they are still learning about it, but you will get a bit of a glimpse of them in the pre-season and hopefully they really fit in well and start playing the footy we want them to play.”
Longmire said the newest Swans, including draftees Dean Towers, Harry Marsh, Tim Membrey, Matthew Dick and Kurt Tippett, as well as the club’s six new rookies, benefitted from last week’s team camp as it allowed them the chance to bond with the club’s senior players.
The coach added that the camp was also an opportunity for the new players to gain a better grasp on the team’s game plan ahead of the pre-season competition.
“Firstly I think it is just good to get away in a camp situation for a few days,” Longmire said.
“The majority of our list probably hasn’t been on a camp, and we haven’t been on a camp for about six years and we have made an enormous amount of changes to our list in that time.
“It’s good to get away and really get to know some of the younger blokes in this environment and the older players mixing with the younger players is really good.
“The other thing of real benefit is to have a really intensive training program and a good block of training where the players are going at it all the time and training really hard.”
The Swans list are now on a well-deserved break after last week’s four-day training camp, and will return to the club on Friday to continue their pre-season program.
Longmire said the team will now move into the business end of pre-season training, with competitive, match-based drills the focus for the remained of the pre-season period.
“We are obviously getting into the really competitive part of training, so we’re doing little mini match simulation drills and competitive work to really prepare our players for their first pre-season game,” he said.
“From Friday we’ll really be into (those) match simulation setups and competitive work at training, which will hopefully prepare our players for the next stage of pre-season which is actual games.
“We understand there is still a lot of work to go and everyone is probably saying the same thing at every other club, but the good thing is that hopefully the players are really hungry to keep on improving.”
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