Sunday, 22 April 2012
Sydney's best start to an AFL season since 1998 would ordinarily bring a smile to coach John Longmire's face, but Gary Rohan
's broken leg ensured the Swans' 36-point win over North Melbourne was a sombre triumph.
The Swans overcame the early loss of Rohan
, applying pressure with aplomb to ease to a 17.11 (113) to 10.17 (77) win over the Kangaroos at a wet and slippery SCG on Sunday.
Only twice before has the club started a VFL/AFL season with four wins and Sydney are now one of three undefeated teams in the league, but Longmire was in no mood to celebrate.
"It's a terrible broken leg," he said of Rohan
's compound fracture.
"He's out for the year. It's a real shame for him, he's such an exciting talent and a terrific kid to have at the footy club.
"I'm sure the players will get around him and help him through it, and his family are up (from Cobden in Victoria) which is good."Rohan
booted the opening goal of the game but soon after was taken off the ground on a stretcher due to a nasty collision with Kangaroo Lindsay Thomas.
Thomas slid in and inadvertently took out the legs of the red-headed speedster, who immediately called for assistance while he lay on the ground painfully clutching the bottom of his right leg.
Replays of the 20-year-old's lower leg bending and buckling were so graphic that broadcaster Channel 7 showed the footage only once.Rohan
's exit failed to unsettle the hosts, who enjoyed a 26-point advantage at quarter-time and never relinquished the lead - thanks largely to the fierce pressure applied by on-ball brigade Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker, Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh.
"I'm not sure they were rattled (after Rohan
's shocking injury). The way our senior players went about the whole game was fantastic," Longmire said.
"The whole playing group set themselves to put enormous pressure on, which I thought we did from the first bounce which is really good.
"And we kept it going for the whole four quarters."
Ben McGlynn, Lewis Jetta and Andrejs Everitt kicked three goals each, Rhyce Shaw did a fine shutdown job on Kangaroos veteran Brent Harvey, while Kennedy (27 disposals, six clearances) continued his incredible start to the season.
The Swans face their biggest test of the season on Sunday against Hawthorn in Launceston.
Co-captain Adam Goodes will return from a one-week suspension, but injured ruckman Shane Mumford's chances of playing are less clear.
"That's what our medical staff are trying to work out. Hopefully we'll have some answers in the next few days (about Mumford's back injury) because he's obviously such an important player," Longmire said.
"He's had a couple of scans and seen different specialists ... our doctor's confident he can get on top of it quickly."
The Kangaroos were unable to generate the run that was a trademark of their breakthrough win over premiers Geelong, with coach Brad Scott disappointed in the way his charges over used the ball in what was a "poor" start.
"We know Sydney are very good at pressuring, they're the best or very close to it. But if you kick the ball forward they can't pressure you," he said.
"Once we adapted to the conditions we were more competitive, but the early lead we conceded proved insurmountable."