The Courier-Mail



IF there’s anyone at risk of being distracted by the AFL’s indigenous war cry outcry, it won’t be Adam Goodes.

Sydney coach John Longmire said you only need to look at the 35-year-old’s past two performanc­es to prove he could handle the media glare Friday night’s goal celebratio­n against Carlton at the SCG caused.

The spotlight was already on the dual Brownlow medallist after the booing he copped from Hawthorn fans at the MCG two weeks ago.

It multiplied exponentia­lly over the weekend when he celebrated Indigenous Round with a controvers­ial war dance directed at Carlton supporters.

“He’s incredibly focused on making sure he plays the best footy he can,” Longmire told The Courier-Mail.

“He’s fully aware of a priority to make sure he plays the best footy he can and that has been what he’s been doing.”

Remarkably, over the past two games Goodes has produced his best form of a season that began with question marks over his future when he was listed as a substitute and then chose to spend two weeks in the reserves to rediscover his mojo.

He was one of the Swans’ best despite the attention of the Hawks’ supporters boobrigade in the grand final rematch. He followed that up with an even better performanc­e against the Blues on Friday night, kicking two goals, taking nine marks and gathering 21 disposals.

“He needs to keep playing well,” Longmire warned.

“He needed to get some form and fitness up which he’s been able to do.”

Longmire was amazed by Goodes’ ability to concentrat­e on his football when he was named Australian of The Year in 2014. “He’s 35 years of age. He’s a grown man and he understand­s how to get the best out of himself,” the Swans coach said.

While Goodes has shown he can handle the extra attention, his teammates will be tested in the coming weeks with the booing issue unlikely to go away anytime soon.

“I don’t think it will be a distractio­n,” Longmire said.

“All the players support Adam but are fully aware of making sure the balance is right between supporting Adam and focusing on the Gold Coast. We’ve got confidence our players can get that balance right.”

 ??  ?? IN FORM: Adam Goodes.
IN FORM: Adam Goodes.

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