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Sydney Swans' John Longmire named AFLCA coach of the year

John Longmire, Senior Coach of the Swans addresses his players during the 2014 AFL Round 18 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Sydney Swans at the MCG, Melbourne on July 26, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Swans coach John Longmire has been named the AFLCA coach of the year
SYDNEY Swans coach John Longmire has been named as the Allan Jeans Senior Coach of the Year, edging out Hawthorn's Alastair Clarkson by one vote at the AFL Coaches Association awards on Tuesday night.

At a presentation dinner in Melbourne on Tuesday night, Longmire was declared the coaches' coach, Port star Robbie Gray received his best player award, and Gold Coast's Jaeger O'Meara was voted the competition's Best Young Player, narrowly edging out Port's Ollie Wines and Western Bulldog Jack Macrae.

The Allan Jeans award, voted on by the coaches, illustrates just how close the race is between this year's two Grand Final sides and acknowledges the success Longmire and Clarkson have achieved this season.

Longmire led his team to the 2014 McClelland Trophy with a winning record of 17-5, steadying the ship after three losses – and plenty of criticism to boot – in the first four rounds of the season.

The Swans lost to Greater Western Sydney, then Collingwood, then had a shocker at the SCG in round four against North Melbourne.

It was a terrible start and Longmire's glamour forward line was not functioning. However, the side clicked in round five against Fremantle and Lance Franklin started to live up to his well-publicised price tag.

Clarkson navigated all sorts of adversity throughout the season: injuries and suspensions to key players, as well as his own personal battle with illness as he missed five games after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome at the end of May.

It was a dramatic year for him however he still managed to steer the team to its third consecutive Grand Final - an incredible effort, particularly when you consider it was his first season without Buddy.



Longmire also won the award in the Swans' premiership year in 2012. Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley was voted best coach last year.
 
Gray joined esteemed company, including three-time winner Gary Ablett, in taking out the coaches' best player award after a stellar season for the Power.

The torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in 2012 has seemingly been the making of him as a player.
 
Gray reflected on his arduous recovery after accepting the award, saying it drove him to take his game to a new level.
 
"It did take me a little bit longer to get going than I would've liked," Gray said.
 
"I learnt a lot during my time out (of the game) and you learn a lot about how much you love it and it's good to be back out there amongst your peers."
 
The Power midfielder-forward finished the season on 116 votes, 16 ahead of Fremantle star Nat Fyfe. Sydney Swans midfielder Josh Kennedy rounded out the podium with 83 votes.
 
Suns coach Guy McKenna accepted the award on behalf of the absent O'Meara, who is in London having surgery on both of his knees.
 
The award is based on the performances of the players in their first two seasons in the AFL.
 
Coaching great Kevin Sheedy was announced as the sixth AFLCA 'legend', presented with his award by Richmond coach Damien Hardwick.
 
Sheedy joined the illustrious company of John Kennedy snr (2009), Ron Barassi (2010), Tom Hafey (2011), David Parkin (2012) and Leigh Matthews (2013) who have been inducted into the coaching hall of fame.
 
Neale Daniher was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, whose contribution to football was outlined by Hawthorn football manager Chris Fagan who accepted the award on the ill Daniher's behalf.
 
Western Bulldogs assistant coach Brent Montgomery was voted as the Assistant Coach of the Year.
 
THE AWARDS
AFL Coaches Association Player of the Year: Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide)
Allan Jeans Senior Coach of the Year: John Longmire (Sydney Swans)
Best Young Player Award: Jaeger O'Meara (Gold Coast)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Neale Daniher
Assistant Coach of the Year Award: Brett Montgomery (Western Bulldogs)
Support Staff Leadership Award: John Kilby (Essendon trainer)
Career and Development Award: Steven King (Western Bulldogs)
Media Award: Gerard Whateley (Fox Footy)