Longmire's moment to recall hard times
A huge personal achievement ... John Longmire acknowledges the support of fans. Photo: Joe Armao
IT'S just not like John Longmire to be self-indulgent. Everything is always about the team, rather than any individuals - including himself - but he admits the emotion of Saturday's grand final win had him momentarily stray from the norm.
As Longmire and his team were being presented their winning medals and then the premiership cup, he gave his speech, then finished it by pointing skyward and saying: ''Mum, I hope you enjoyed the game.'' The Swans coach was referring to his mother, Christine, who lost her battle with cancer in June. ''You don't try and indulge yourself in too many personal moments I guess, because it's about the players who played,'' he explained. ''But it was great to have my family there to watch that game and know that mum loved the footy and it was an emotional moment after the game.
''There were naturally some very tough times during the year. You learn a lot from your players and I learnt a lot from Jarrad McVeigh last year,'' he said, referring to his co-captain who lost his one-month-old daughter Luella to a heart problem last season.
''They teach you an enormous amount when you are a coach. You're not always teaching, they are often the teachers, and the way Jarrad McVeigh handled himself last year in the utmost of tragedies, really led to me making sure I kept my focus here even though it was the most tragic of times for our family, and still is very difficult.''
The victory was a huge personal success for Longmire. He inherited the coaching position from his mentor Paul Roos and it has been a large shadow to step out from.
Longmire had applied for some AFL coaching positions previously and, when it was clear they would need to do something if they didn't want to lose the then assistant coach, the Swans offered him the senior coaching position when Roos stepped aside at the end of 2010. They remain great friends and Roos was one of the first on to the MCG on Saturday to congratulate Longmire.
''I actually gave him a phone call after our preliminary final at about 11.30pm,'' Longmire said. ''I was driving back to the footy club from ANZ [Stadium] and he was the first person I rang. I just thanked him for what he has done, both for me and also this footy club.
''I was lucky that the people that knew me the most are the people at this footy club who I work with on a day-to-day basis and I was very fortunate that Roosy gave me a lot of responsibility, and the board, with Richard Colless and Andrew Ireland in particular, backed me in to be coach after Paul Roos, and I'm very lucky that decision was made.''
Longmire said he would enjoy the next few days, before getting back into the process of drafts and trades and list management, and planning for their title defence.
''There is a fair bit going on now, but I'll be enjoying myself,'' he said. ''You've got to really enjoy this moment, because you don't get a chance to do this very often. Premierships are very hard to win and when you do, you've got to enjoy them.''