Longmire hopes sanity prevails on runners

Sydney coach John Longmire is again scratching his head about the AFL's controversial runners rule.
Sydney coach John Longmire is again scratching his head about the AFL's controversial runners rule.

Sydney coach John Longmire hopes that sanity prevails and the crackdown on runners is reversed, but he's not sure if the AFL will admit they were wrong.

Longmire has been one of the most vocal coaches in airing the widespread displeasure at the AFL's new restrictions on runners.

Under laws introduced this year, runners are only allowed to enter the field of play when a goal is scored, and they must return to the bench before the next centre bounce.

Last month, Longmire pondered whether Lance Franklin's hamstring injury was caused by the runner restrictions.

And he launched a fresh attack on the new laws following his team's one-point loss to Fremantle on Saturday night.

Sydney conceded two behinds in the final two minutes to suffer the heartbreaking 7.10 (52) to 7.9 (51) loss.

Longmire said: "you don't have to be Einstein" to see the rules should be changed back.

"I'd love it to (go back to) what it was. I'm not sure they (the AFL) will say they were wrong," Longmire said.

"I just hope some sanity prevails. Coaches aren't there to completely ruin the game. When you've got a really young team, you'd like to be able to help them a bit.

"We've got young kids out there running around - three teenagers tonight - running around thinking about everything in the game, including just trying to get their hands on the footy, plus doing the rotations themselves and thinking through some of the situations.

"It's been an issue for us this year. We've been the youngest couple (of teams) almost every round this year."

Longmire said the experience of losing a tight game will teach his young players invaluable lessons.

Sydney lost the clearance battle 45-23 against the Dockers, with debutant ruckman Hayden McLean (16 hitouts, 13 disposals) overpowered by Fremantle's giant trio of Aaron Sandilands, Sean Darcy, and Rory Lobb.

The Swans (6-11) face a tough task to snap their three-game losing streak against ladder leaders Geelong at the SCG next Sunday.

Australian Associated Press