Papley has the knack of getting under the skin of opponents but on this occasion he conceded a free kick, which denied the Swans a boundary throw-in and the chance to lock the ball in their forward 50.
“It wasn’t good enough. At that point of time he probably was [frustrated], but he shouldn’t do it,” Longmire said. “I just said to him you shouldn’t have done it.”
Longmire is fiercely protective of his charges so his decision to line up Papley publicly is an indication of how frustrated the coach was in one of his senior players.
It continues a controversial run for one of the game’s premier small forwards. He was fined $500 for staging against Collingwood two rounds ago, just weeks after Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said the pugnacious Swan “milks a free kick as well as anyone in the competition”.
After a week in which their cleanskin reputation was smeared by Elijah Taylor’s quarantine breach, the Swans signed off on their hub life in Perth with a Saturday night stinker.
In one of their poorest performances of the year, the Swans were comprehensively outplayed by the Dockers, who put behind last week’s after-the-siren heartbreak with a strong four-quarter display.
“It’d be fair to say it was the opposite to what we hoped,” Longmire said of the night.
Dockers midfielder Josh Hill is likely to come under the scrutiny of the match review after making contact to Nick Blakey’s head in a ground-ball contest. That Blakey played out the game and Hill was attempting to pick up the ball will go in the Docker’s favour.
The loss leaves the Swans with a 4-8 win-loss record and needing to win their remaining five games to make the finals – but based on this effort, that is asking too much.
Even if this year of recession is the one the Swans have to have as they invest heavily in youth, displays like this will do little for their confidence. The learning curve is steep.
The Buddy-less Swans were rendered impotent by a frugal Dockers side, which stymied their ball movement.
After kicking the first goal of the game four minutes into the opening term, the Swans had to wait until the 10-minute mark of the last quarter for their second. In between, the Dockers piled on six unanswered goals to clinch the four points.
“It’s everything, it’s a piece of every line,” Longmire said of what went wrong. “We didn’t have the same run and energy like last week. That contributed to a bit of it. If you don’t have the same run and energy then your skills drop off.”
Despite the lopsided scoreboard, the Swans had more entries inside forward 50 (34-43) but the quality of delivery left much to be desired.
“It’s unusual we have more inside 50s and are unable to put the score on the board,” Longmire said.
“It’s a bit of connection with our forwards, our kicking going forward of centre and our ability to win our 50/50s when it was in our front half, particularly in the air, was disappointing.”
This was not a good night to be Sam Reid or Tom McCartin. Even the great Lance Franklin would have had trouble imposing himself.
Ryan, with 26 possessions, was awarded the Goodes-O’Loughlin Medal for the best player on the ground as the Swans could not find a way around him.
There was hardly a Swans onballer who could say he won his position. Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker both collected 17 possessions but had little impact on the game.
In defence, Dane Rampe’s absence was keenly felt. Matt Taberner was too strong for Lewis Melican, clunking nine marks, four of them contested, though his return of two goals did not reflect his control of the match-up.
Robbie Fox conceded 21cm to Rory Lobb and performed admirably. It was not until late when the big man’s height advantage was used to good effect.
After losing the first four games of the season, the Dockers are making decent strides under the tutelage of first-season coach Justin Longmuir.
Even if they defy the odds and make the finals, there is still plenty to like about what Longmuir’s Dockers are doing.
Senior players Nat Fyfe and David Mundy remain important but the development of youngsters Andrew Brayshaw (26 possessions), Caleb Serong (20) and Adam Cerra will please those of the purple persuasion.
“It’s just another distraction, finals talk,” Longmuir said. “There’s so many distractions in a season, we just have to make sure our players prepare well each week.
“Where we finish on the ladder will look after itself. I know it’s a boring answer but that’s the reality of it.”
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald