John Longmire looks on during Sydney's team photo day on January 16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

SYDNEY coach John Longmire has called for perspective when analysing any advantages that may be gained for teams that competed in the AFL's Opening Round.

Geelong coach Chris Scott has suggested the extra early season bye afforded to the eight teams that faced off in Opening Round may prove advantageous to them by season's end.

Fresh off his first up win over Melbourne, Longmire suggested that a wider scope is needed when assessing any gains that may have been handed to his side and the seven others that have already begun their seasons.

"The Grand Final is played at the MCG on opposition home grounds, every year. If you talk about equalisation, I think having a couple of games up here probably balances it out okay," Longmire said.

"Chris (Scott) probably understands that, he's been around a long time. One of the great myths, I guess, is equalisation. Things are not quite equal when you have the MCG for the Grand Final every year.

"I think everyone accepts it's very difficult to get everything equal. It's a great concept the Opening Round and I think everyone for the greater good of the game is on board with it."

The plot lines around the four Opening Round games enhanced the enterprising launch to the campaign, one of them being Brodie Grundy's match-up with Melbourne and Max Gawn after his ill-fated season there last year.

The star recruit shone amid that spectre and that will only grow larger Friday night at the MCG when he faces Collingwood, the team that he played 177 games for and won two Copeland Trophies with before departing at the end of 2022.

And Longmire is confident the two-time All-Australian won't be drained by the early season attention.

Brodie Grundy and Max Gawn during Sydney's match against Melbourne in Opening Round, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"Up here (in Sydney) it's not too bad. It's a bit different. There's a bit of outside noise about it in here he was back on Friday just going about his work, preparing and recovering.

"He's an experienced player (and) he understands all sides of the spectrum. He goes to the beach and does his recovery, hopefully doesn't get bitten by anything (after being stung by a jellyfish last week).

"He's able to keep a pretty level head, he knows what's going on, he understands last week was a big game, this week is a big game and he's comfortable in his approach.

"We don't expect him to be the best player every week, but he had a good start and he'll continue to do a really good job for us."


While another former Magpie Taylor Adams won't be at the MCG on Friday night due to injury, Longmire admits he'll be leaning on both he and Grundy for important intel on the reigning premier.

"I think every club does that so that's no surprise," he said.

"We’re fully aware of what Collingwood do well - I think everyone's aware of that - and Taylor certainly has an enormous amount of respect for his ex-teammates and club.

There are few better at Collingwood than Nick Daicos and the Swans have opted to tag the Magpies superstar in the past, with some success.

The now delisted Ryan Clarke was afforded that task in previous years when Daicos operated mainly at half-back.

Ryan Clarke tackles Nick Daicos during the round eight match between Collingwood and Sydney on May 07, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Longmire admits it may be a more challenging proposition come Friday evening with Daicos now operating almost exclusively as a midfielder, but he hasn't ruled out a direct match-up.

"It's very difficult to do. Collingwood have got class all over the ground. Nick's one of the classiest guys around. We're working through that and haven't come to a decision just yet," he said.

The Magpies' attention may centre around Isaac Heeney, who will be shifted predominantly into the midfield this season and was arguably best on ground against Melbourne in that role with 26 possessions, 13 clearances and 12 score involvements.

"His ability to play two-way footy, he's really hard at the contest. He can go from inside to out and keep his run up for an entire four quarters, which is important," Longmire said.


"We'll have another young midfield group this week. He's the older one, but he's not that old. His ability to help in the contest, win it at the source and then run from the source has been important and the other players really enjoy that different mix."

Nick Blakey was another to shine on Thursday night in a stunning performance in defence that has further elevated his status as one of the best half-backs in the game.

Youngster Matt Roberts, this week's Rising Star nominee, said playing alongside the man they call 'Lizard' in the Swans back six is an exhilarating experience.

Matt Roberts during Sydney's game against Melbourne in Opening Round, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"Sometimes you don't know where he's going to run and sometimes you just try run out of his way," Roberts said. "He's been really good and we're working well with each other and he's a crucial part of the team."

Roberts will get another stern test of life as an AFL defender, a role he's taken on this season, when he faces the Pies at the MCG, where he's played only once before.

"(Playing in defence) is definitely something new to me, but it's something I've really enjoyed and settled into," he said.

"I think my composure and decision making across there is something helps me back there and making decisions to set us up offensively."