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Seaby back for Swans

Adrian Warren 17/02/2011 05:52:43 PM Comments (0)

New Swans coach John Longmire will have the reassuring figure of senior ruckman Mark Seaby at his disposal as he prepares for a step into the unknown this weekend.

While predecessor Paul Roos won only a solitary pre-season cup match during his tenure, Longmire has a golden opportunity to notch two victories on his first night as head coach.

The Swans take on fledgling AFL franchises Gold Coast and GWS in the NAB Cup at Blacktown Olympic Park, but they also present him with a unique challenge.

"I know a little bit more about Gold Coast, I've seen a lot of their kids play and they've got some star young players, plus they've obviously got those senior players," Longmire told reporters on Thursday.

"I know a little about GWS, but not a lot. It's quite interesting when you go into a game, or two games, this weekend, you don't know a lot about both opposition teams.

"It's highly unusual in an AFL environment for both coaches and players."

Longmire will have a good blend of youth and experience to work with on Saturday, despite missing a cluster of injured stars including, including Tadhg Kennelly, Craig Bolton, Daniel Bradshaw, Lewis Roberts-Thomson and Shane Mumford.

Adam Goodes and new-co captain Jarrad McVeigh will play, along with reigning club best and fairest Kieren Jack, Rising Star winner Dan Hannebery and recruit Andrejs Everitt.

Several other established veterans were named along with a number of emerging players and top draft picks Jed Lamb and Luke Parker.

With Mumford missing, Seaby has a chance to re-establish himself as the senior ruckman following an ankle injury which ended his 2010 campaign after six rounds.

"He's had a good pre-season, probably a little bit better than what he had last year," Longmire said of Seaby.

Seaby agreed he was more advanced than at the corresponding stage last year.

"I've been training more, I think this time last year I was only just getting back into it and ready to go, but now I feel like I've got a lot more match fitness under my belt, a lot more conditioning," Seaby told reporters.

He was excited by the development of Mumford and Canadian former Test rugby player Mike Pyke, who successfully shared the ruck duties in his absence.

"Shane and Mike had great years and it was good to see," Seaby said.

"Obviously it was a little bit disappointing I couldn't be out there with them helping them through, especially when they were playing finals, it was hard to watch.

"But it gives me a lot of excitement for this year to look forward to what we can achieve together."

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