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Longmire calls for “minimum standard” in AFL mental health support

Hour of Power

Sydney Swans coach John Longmire has renewed his push for more money to help fund mental health support in AFL clubs.

A soft cap currently applies for all 18 teams, restricting the amount of money which goes towards supportive measures.

But Longmire says a “minimum standard” needs to apply in order help players who are battling mental health issues.

“It certainly needs to be looked at,” Longmire told the Hour of Power.

“It’s a big issue in the society, let alone AFL or professional sport of all types.

“(Mental health) is something that’s been on the radar for a quite while, two years ago it was the number one issue in the game.

“The AFL are getting serious about it now and in my view, there should be a minimum standard of (support) across the competition and hopefully that’s where we’ll end up.

“I spoke with Steve Hocking (at the AFL) last week and they’re absolutely backing it, it’s just a matter of how it looks.

“All clubs should be encouraged to spent as much as they want in that area, we’ve got a clinical psychologist that’s on four or five days a week.

“It should be encouraged through the AFL Players’ Association to have as much support for the clubs as we can.

The Swans are set to play cross-town rivals GWS Giants in a scratch match on Friday afternoon, with Longmire confirming star forward Lance Franklin will miss the clash as well as the club’s JLT Community Series matches against GWS and Gold Coast.

Franklin had groin surgery in the off-season before resuming training last month.

“He’s running and running pretty well,” he said.

“But he won’t play in the JLT Series and then we’ve got to decide how much work he’s done before round one.

“We’ve been pretty strong in saying he’ll play when he’s ready rather than forcing to play in the opening round.

“We’ll take into consideration what his program will be like the lead up to the start of the season and then make a decision then.”

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