‘He let the moment get to him’: Ladhams suspension unsettles Swans

Swans coach John Longmire has spoken to suspended ruckman Peter Ladhams about his costly lack of discipline as the Swans prepare to fight for their top-eight position against St Kilda at the SCG on Saturday night.

Tom Hickey will return after a game in the reserves proving his fitness from a toe injury to fill the place left by Ladhams. His cost the 24-year-old a week on the sidelines.

It was one of two incidents which led to free-kicks resulting in goals, prompting Longmire to bench his big man. The Swans went down to Port Adelaide by 23 points last Saturday and now teeter in the final eight on percentage.

The moment of playing against the old team probably built up a bit, Longmire said of Ladhams’ first encounter against Port since moving to the Swans at the end of last season.

[Port’s traditional home ground]. It’s just one of those things that he let the moment get to him a little. He’s a 40-game player. He’s still learning about what the game provides, how he plays the game, but also the emotional aspects of the game.

He’ll be fine, he’ll work through this. He didn’t get that part of it right. He’s been good for us this year.

The Swans were given his disjointed season with knee and, more recently, toe injuries which has seen him manage just five senior games.

However, they now have no choice but to bring Hickey back to counter the Saints’ heavy-duty ruck combination of Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall.

He’s done a couple of weeks of work at training, he’s played the one game. The situation means is he right to go this week? Longmire pondered. We back the fact that he has experience, he plays as well, he knows what he’s doing on a footy ground.

St Kilda are in a similarly precarious position to the Swans after being beaten by Essendon last Friday night.

The loser of Saturday night’s Swans-Saints encounter will tumble into the bottom half of the ladder if ninth-placed Collingwood beat the Giants at the MCG next Sunday.

Round 15 could see a significant shake-up of finals aspirations with the top two teams, Brisbane and Melbourne, playing each other, Fremantle (third) meeting Carlton (fifth) and Geelong (fourth) playing Richmond (Sixth).

Richmond, the Swans, St Kilda and Collingwood all have eight wins and are separated by percentage while the tenth-placed Western Bulldogs are a game behind but with a better performance than the four sides above them. The Bulldogs meet 14th-placed Hawthorn on Friday night.

Something the AFL aspire to is to have a really even season and anyone on any given day is capable of beating anyone else, Longmire said. That’s what the AFL want and that’s what they’ve got.

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