John Longmire and Isaac Heeney after Sydney's win over the Western Bulldogs in R11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

SYDNEY coach John Longmire says the club "feels obliged to explore every avenue we possibly can" to overturn Isaac Heeney's one match ban, but stopped short of saying the Swan's Brownlow Medal chances are the sole reason for its decision to take the case to the AFL Appeal Board.

Heeney is currently ineligible for the Brownlow and suspended for Saturday's game against North Melbourne after the Tribunal upheld his one-match ban on Tuesday night.

But the club confirmed on Wednesday it will challenge the Tribunal's ruling at the AFL Appeal Board, with that hearing to be held at 5pm AEST on Thursday.

Heeney had been one of the favourites for this year's Brownlow, raising the possibility of him winning the vote count while ineligible, a fate Longmire's former North Melbourne teammate Corey McKernan suffered in 1996.

Longmire said the club wants Heeney to be available to take on the Kangaroos this weekend, but added the Brownlow is also a factor.

"We want him to play this week, first and foremost ... (but) you can't help but have that in the back of your mind," Longmire told SEN.

"No one knows what the result of that of going to be at the end of the year, no one can predict that, and I certainly don't want to go on the record to say this is the only reason we're doing it. It's not. We'd like him to play this week.

"But we feel obliged to explore every avenue we possibly can to support Isaac. Whether that's this week ... or it's September when you're watching the votes get counted out."

Reflecting on McKernan's situation almost three decades ago, when the Roos star missed out on a Brownlow after a one-week suspension made him ineligible, Longmire said such moments in a player's career could potentially be life-changing.

"I just wonder if there was a different process available then to Corey, how he would have felt and how the rest of his life would have looked. Who knows," he said.

The Swans insist Heeney's charge for his hit on St Kilda's Jimmy Webster should have been classified as careless rather than intentional, which would reduce the sanction to a fine.

Longmire confirmed the club made a submission to the AFL back in January against a proposed rule change that would grade actions similar to Heeney's, where he pushed off his opponent in an attempt to get separation, as intentional rather than careless.

"We were concerned with exactly this particular (situation). When we put the submission forward, we actually said that it could result in unfair or harsh outcomes (given) a push or a fend occurs commonly in the game," he said.


"(Sunday's incident) was two players trying to apply their craft and because one player went down a little bit, no one's fault, it feels like we're trying to hold people accountable for that and that's unfortunate.

"Isaac is one of the fairest players I've ever seen play the game. He's incredibly hard, incredibly competitive and incredibly fair and I think his record stands up to that.

"I just can't accept that it was intentional.

"We all absolutely support the crackdown on high contact, but ... there's always going to be various things you can't legislate for and you have to understand that's part of the game."