JOHN LONGMIRE was recruited from the Corowa/Rutherglen Football Club ( Ovens & Murray Football League, Victoria ) by the North Melbourne Kangaroos in 1988. He played 200 Games, kicking 511 Goals until his retirement as a player at the conclusion of the 1999 AFL Season.
The Kangaroos had identified Longmire as a powerful, well-built goal-kicking Full Forward after he had won the Country League’s Leading Goalkicker Award at the age of 17 years. He struggled to achieve his potential in his first 2 Seasons at the Roos in 1988 and 1989, due to the quicker intensity of games and the heavier defensive checking techniques employed by opposing backmen which were successfully restricting his impact.
John Longmire duly fulfilled his early promise with 2 outstanding Seasons in 1990 and 1991 when he kicked 98 Goals and 91 Goals for the respective Seasons. He formed part of a match-winning Goal Kicking partnership withh fellow North Melbourne Champion, Wayne Carey, which prevailled until the end of the 1995 Season. Longmire’s dominance in the 1990 Season is evidenced by his winning of the Coleman Medal as Leading Goalkicker in the League, winner of the Syd Barker Medal as Best and Fairest Player at the Kangaroos, and selection for both the New South Wales and Victorian Interstate Representative Teams.
Longmire was only 19 years of age in 1990, with individual Games Goal tallies of 12 and 14 during the Season clearly demonstrating his class. He was a very accurate and lengthy drop punt kick for goal, was quick and decisive on the lead and had a very strong pair of hands. There are only a small number of players in VFL/AFL history who have achieved Longmire’s feat of 5 Goals or more on 56 occasions in his career. He was the North Melbourne Kangaroos Leading Goalkicker for the 1990-1994 Seasons inclusive.
John Longmire had missed very few Games through injury from 1990-1995, and even after his standout seasons of 1990/91 continued to average 3-4 Goals per game played. Disaster struck in the form of a serious knee injury, which required a Total Reconstruction, causing him to miss all games for the 1996 Season. He was therefore unable to play an on-field role in the North Melbourne Premiership victory in 1996, but as a preview of things to come, he proved of invaluable assistance in maintaining a good rapport between the players and Coach Denis Pagan.
When Longmire returned to the playing field in Season 1997, after working intensely on improving his aerobic capacity, he found a niche at Centre Half Back, and played a number of support roles, including that as a back-up Ruckman. A number of injuries curtailed his game day influence in his final 2 seasons as a player in 1998 and 1999, however he achieved just reward by playing his part in the 1999 North Melbourne Premiership Victory ( the Grand Final was to be his final career match ).
John Longmire ventured into the Media after his retirement as a player and succeeded in the role as Host of an Australian Football Television Show during the 2000 and 2001 Seasons. The Sydney Swans then contracted Longmire as an Assistant Coach from the 2002 AFL Season. He became a successful and crucial cog in the Swans Coaching group that developed a highly competitive outfit, which included victory in the 2005 Season Grand Final and a heart-breakiing loss to the West Coast Eagles in the 2006 AFL Season Grand Final.
Prior to the 2008 AFL Season, incumbent Sydney Swans Coach, Paul Roos, appointed Longmire to the role as the Swans Coaching Co-ordinator. This move pre-empted the Coaching Succession Plan which culminated in Longmire’s appointment to the Swans Senior Coaching role on the retirement of Paul Roos at the end of the 2010 AFL Season.
John Longmire has contributed strongly to a highly consistent period in the Sydney/South Melbourne Swans Club History with Finals appearances becoming the norm over the past decade. He has special qualities to extract the maximum performance from all players in his Team on special occasions. During the recent 2011 AFL Season, victories over the Geelong Cats and the West Coast Eagles at their Home Grounds are 2 examples of Longmire’s tactical nouse. Finals victory over the St Kilda Saints and a narrow loss to the Hawthorn Hawks indicate continued improvement can be expected.
John Longmire has demonstrated astute Game Planning, incisive game day player allocation and appears to enjoy wide-spread Player respect. The Sydney Swans will enjoy further Finals action at the business end of the 2012 AFL Season. The Club’s mid-range players need to develop commensurately with the First and Second Year Players from the 2011 Season, to allow Longmire to take the Swans to a Preliminary Final or a Grand Final appointment in 2012.
( Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au ).