Focus on Greene, Taylor not Giants smack talk: Longmire

Joanna Guelas |

John Longmire is keeping his focus on getting the Swans ready for a high-profile Sydney derby.
John Longmire is keeping his focus on getting the Swans ready for a high-profile Sydney derby.

Cross-city rivals Greater Western Sydney can talk as much trash as they want ahead of the harbour city’s AFL derby – John Longmire couldn’t care less.

Dodging Monday’s verbal punches thrown by Giants defender Sam Taylor, Sydney coach Longmire has one eye on his returning stars and the other on Adam Kingsley’s cavalry ahead of the teams’ Saturday clash at the SCG.

Both sides are set to welcome back star performers, with Giants captain Toby Greene (suspension) and All-Australian defender Taylor (concussion) primed to cause trouble for the Swans.

Stephen Coniglio (knee) could also be cleared to play, while former skipper Luke Parker (arm) and defender Dane Rampe (hamstring) are a chance to feature for Sydney.

Taylor on Monday boasted of the Giants’ aspirations to hand the “smug” and “chirpy” Swans their second loss of the season – but Longmire brushed off the sledges.

Sam Taylor rises high for the Giants.
Giants’ Sam Taylor (centre) has lit the fuse for a fiery AFL derby at the SCG. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

“I wasn’t so much focused on (Taylor’s) comments. I did read them, but I’ve been a bit more focused on Toby Greene, Stephen Coniglio and Sam Taylor coming back in the team,” the Swans coach said on Tuesday.

“That’s where my energies have been directed, because this is a team that last week defeated last year’s grand finalist (the Brisbane Lions) by nine goals – and had those three guys out.

“I’ve been looking at their team and those three – if they’re fit, you’d imagine (they) come straight back in – and what that looks like in the team sense and how good they’re playing. They’re playing super footy.”

Leading the all-time derby record 16-10, Sydney got the better of their rivals in a pre-season hit-out – pulling off a 26-point victory to claim unofficial bragging rights.

The Giants have since proved their mettle and, with both sides possessing a 6-1 record, sit beneath the second-placed Swans only by percentage.

Jesse Hogan of the Giants celebrates a goal.
Jesse Hogan has enjoyed a prolific season for GWS, with 22 goals to his credit so far. (Steven Markham/AAP PHOTOS)

Longmire admitted his concerns went far beyond containing usual ball-magnets Greene and Tom Green, with GWS boasting a premiership-quality list across all lines.

Every part of the Giants’ team is well-balanced: Jesse Hogan (22 goals) and Callum Brown (13) in attack; Coniglio, Josh Kelly and Finn Callaghan through the midfield, and a defence led by Jack Buckley and Taylor.

“They haven’t got a bad player at the moment. There’s no question, I think about that too much,” Longmire said.

“Their form has been outstanding. Their depth has been outstanding and it’s not just one player doing it.”