JOHN Longmire beamed with pride on Saturday night as his bloodied but un-bowed Sydney Swans fought their way into a preliminary final clash with Fremantle next week.
The Swans lost Kurt Tippett (knee) and Tom Mitchell (ankle) in the opening quarter, forcing a badly underdone Lewis Jetta to play more than 75 per cent of the game on a severely restricted bench.
But the home side kept Carlton scoreless in the third term on its way to a superb 13.8 (86) to 8.14 (62) win.
Written off by many after their disappointing performance against Hawthorn last week, the defending premiers showed they aren't ready to relinquish their crown just yet.
"I just thought our players showed an enormous amount of character tonight," Longmire said.
"To lose two players so early in the game, halfway through the first quarter, and to continue to play like we did was a real credit to them.
"I thought they showed a lot of mental strength and a hell of a lot of resilience.
"To do that like they did tonight was just a fantastic win.
"I just thought from our captains right through, the resilience to be able to play such a big game against a fair few odds from early in the game, showed an enormous amount of character and [was] just a fantastic effort."
Jarrad McVeigh was a clear best on ground after a stunning performance that included a career-best 42 disposals, nine marks, five tackles, five clearances and two goals.
He had 20 touches in the second term alone, made all the more remarkable given McVeigh carried calf and knee issues into the game.
Longmire said one of his co-captains was never going to miss the match and paid credit to how much the 28-year-old had grown, on and off the field.
"He's developed into just a superb leader," Longmire said. "His ability to be able to lead the group on the ground has been sensational.
"He really knows his football and he just digs deep and has got an enormous amount of resilience and is fantastic off the ground as well.
"He's developed into a real high quality leader and to have him and Kieren (Jack) leading the team as well as they do is just a credit to them both."
Next up the Swans are likely to be stark underdogs for the arduous trip west to take on a fit and firing Fremantle outfit.
But Longmire said the premiers have plenty left in the tank in 2013.
"We know we need all that effort next week and a bit more," he said.
"Playing Fremantle in Perth is a big job, but we know that we've got some players there that really look forward to that contest.
"We'll have to be at our very best and look forward to hopefully bringing that on the weekend.
"We know it's not done, it's something we'll look at and say 'well done', which is what I said to them straight after the game. We look to the next box and that's Fremantle in Perth in a preliminary final."