Covid ‘sh*tshow’ before ‘amazing’ effort

There were post-game tears from Sydney coach John Longmire, who has revealed he was nearly put into isolation himself before his Swans made a stunning second-half surge to beat GWS.

Three Swans and two Giants players had to be called up just hours before the match on Sunday night when a Covid reclassification forced five players from the two teams into isolation

Sydney’s Callum Mills, Harry Cunningham and Colin O’Riordan as well as Giants players Toby Greene and Matt de Boer had to pull out as the Australia-France rugby Test at AAMI Park last week was upgraded to a tier 2 exposure site.

The players could now face 14 days in quarantine under Queensland health regulations, and in the frantic hours before the game Longmire feared he would be caught up too.

But he was allowed in and wiped tears from his eyes post-game before praising the resilience of his players who stormed back from a 35 point deficit to keep their top four hopes alive.

Lance Franklin celebrates the win with teammates: Picture: Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

James Rowbottom, Dylan Stephens and Ben Ronke were drafted into the Swans’ 23-man team despite all three taking part in a scratch match the day before.

“I quickly got on the phone and rang the players back at the hotel,” Longmire said. “We got the medical staff in and went through the players that we thought could back up – and then I rang them and then told them to get in the car and come to the ground, get changed.

“We weren’t quite sure whether it was locked in or not. So once it was locked in, we just grabbed the players together and told them: ‘We’ve been away for a month, we’ve lost staff, we don’t have one fitness guy and you lose three players before the game (and bring in three) that played yesterday’.

“To say it was a good win would probably be an understatement.”

Longmire said the new players only arrived at Metricon Stadium “about 20 minutes” before the game.

“They had to quickly get strapped … all the meetings and that went out the window,” he said.

Multiple GWS Giants and Sydney Swans players and staff who attended the Wallabies vs France Rugby match have been re-classified as Tier 2 contacts.

None of these players or staff will participate in today’s match, which will proceed as scheduled.

“When it becomes three moving parts, we had to throw it around a bit. Credit to the three blokes who came in.

“It was an amazing effort to come from that far down.”

Rowbottom told the club website that he was in the shower 70 minutes before the first bounce when he received a call from club official Peter Berbakov.

“He said, ‘What are you doing?’ and I said, ‘I’m just in the hotel chilling out’. He said, ‘Good, get your gear on, it’s been a sh*tshow down here, you might be playing’,” Rowbottom said.

Longmire said he had a “bit on my plate” and didn’t know what would happen with his players in isolation.

Instead he was focusing on the ongoing task of playing amid such challenging circumstances and praised everyone in his organisation for dealing with the situation.

“We’re on the bones as we are with staffing and then to lose the staff that we did have, I’ve just got nothing but admiration for our staff,” he said.

“They just get on to it. They work five jobs. They work all day, every day.”

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