John Longmire is set to stay with the Swans. Picture. Phil Hillyard
John Longmire is set to stay with the Swans. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Wheels in motion to keep Longmire

SYDNEY is adamant that John Longmire will not be the Swan who takes flight a year before the end of his contract.

Swans chief executive Tom Harley confirmed the club had started ­negotiations with Longmire and those talks were ongoing.

Harley said as far as he was concerned, there was no prospect of Longmire not being at the club next year, as per the terms of his deal.

This is despite the fact North Melbourne has made him an offer and are hunting for a coach right away.

If Longmire's contract is honoured in full, it would effectively shut down North Melbourne's game plan given the Kangaroos need a coach urgently.

It's expected Longmire's contract saga will come to a head by the end of this month now that Sydney and the 48-year-old are at the table together.

Sydney remains supremely confident of extending Longmire's tenure as their long-term coach, but the Kangaroos have reportedly made a tantalising play that so far has not been dismissed.

Longmire refused to buy into questions about his future at a press conference on Monday, but Harley said it was fair to assume that any conjecture over the coach's future was for beyond the 2020, and that the club expected he would honour the final year of his deal.

Dejected Sydney Swans players after their loss to Essendon at the weekend.
Dejected Sydney Swans players after their loss to Essendon at the weekend.

"We are working through what it might look like beyond 2020," Harley said.

 

"We have that expectation but, most importantly, John has spoken about his commitment and relationship with the club going back 18 years and with that comes some really strong relationships and an ability to have these conversations. We are controlling the things we can control and we have a fantastic coach who is invested in the group and is contracted for next year.

"I think it would be reasonable to expect that we will be talking about the future beyond 2020, and that will play out in due course."

On AFL 360 last week, Longmire said his 18-year association with the Swans showed that he was a man of his word.

Swans head coach John Longmire after addressing his players on the weekend.
Swans head coach John Longmire after addressing his players on the weekend.

As Harley looks to lock down an extension for Longmire, he said he hadn't been thrown by the ongoing speculation over his coach.

Harley denied his heart skipped a beat when Longmire let out a Freudian slip on Fox Footy's AFL 360.

"These things happen and I totally understand that people will look into all sorts of things about that, but no," Harley said.

"We basically have a policy not to talk about contract negotiations, whether they be players or staff.

"We're having (private conversations) in the manner you would expect an employee and employer to have them, which is highly respectful, and we'll continue to do that."

Longmire said he had no concerns that speculation over his ­future was distracting his players.