The Sydney Swans were restricted to just two goals in their 31-point loss to Fremantle on Saturday night and Tom Papley’s brain fade didn’t help their cause.
Sydney coach John Longmire says Tom Papley’s moment of madness simply wasn’t good enough.
The Swans were trailing by 26 points late in the third quarter when Papley gave away a free-kick for throwing the ball at the head of Fremantle defender Luke Ryan.
Although the ill-discipline didn’t play a major part in the final result, it was an unnecessary act of frustration from a star player in a losing team.
“It wasn’t good enough,” Longmire said.
“I think at that point in time he probably was (frustrated) but he shouldn’t do it.”
Papley was held scoreless from 13 disposals in the 7.8 (50) to 2.7 (19) loss.
The 24-year-old was leading the Coleman medal race earlier this season but has booted just two goals in his past four matches and none in the past two.
Sydney’s team total of 19 points was the lowest posted by the club since they transformed from South Melbourne to the Sydney Swans in 1982.
The Swans won the inside 50m count 43-34 but defensive masterclasses from Fremantle duo Brennan Cox (five contested marks) and Luke Ryan (26 disposals) repelled Sydney time and again.
Ryan and Cox have formed a formidable defensive partnership since Fremantle were rocked by injuries to Alex Pearce, Joel Hamling and Griffin Logue.
Dockers coach Justin Longmuir is thrilled with how Cox and Ryan have stepped up in the absence of the club’s recognised key defenders. “I think they’re building some really good chemistry,” Longmuir said.
“They’ve played with each other pretty consistently for the last month now.
“We’re seeing consistency, composure and they’re trusting each other a lot more. Tonight was evidence of that.”
The hot form of 35-year-old midfielder David Mundy is another aspect pleasing Longmuir, who gave the biggest indication yet that the veteran was a required player for 2021.
“We’ll keep the dialogue open. At the moment, we’re all keen to push ahead with that,” Longmuir said.
“We’ve left it to the end of the year on purpose because of his age and where he sits. I’m really happy with his form and really rapt with what he’s teaching our younger players.”