AFL: Sydney coach John Longmire has hailed Lewis Jetta as one of the most improved players in the AFL after a series of electrifying performances which has propelled the Swans to the top of the ladder halfway into the season.
After two years of inconsistent and at times disappointing performances, Jetta has been a revelation for the Swans in 2012 and was again a key player in their thrilling four-point win over Essendon on Saturday.
Longmire said Jetta, who sits fifth on the Coleman Medal list with 27 goals from his 11 games, was fulfilling the potential the club always knew he had.
“His first half of the year has been a real credit to the way he has improved his football, and he has taken his consistency to another level,” Longmire said on Monday.
“We have been pleased he hasn’t dropped off too far. In some of the average games, he has still been able to contribute either by pressure acts or kicking goals.
“He now has the confidence to play real good, strong, hard two-way football and gives us a real spark and bite.
“He has certainly improved. We are pleased at what he has been able to do. It has been a huge jump.”
Longmire said the small forward’s different style of play provided a highly-effective spoil for the likes of Kieran Jack, Rhyce Shaw, Tony Armstrong and Andrejs Everitt and has helped Sydney to a surprising 8-3 record ahead of their bye week.
“Jetta gives us a real spark,” he said. “That’s why we recruited him a few years ago. He is a different style of player and we thought we needed that.
“We knew that we needed a different pitch in our team and he has provided that. And his efficiency either kicking to other players or hitting the scoreboard is the most pleasing aspect of it all along with his workload.
“Twenty-seven goals at the halfway point for a small forward/wingman is a terrific effort. Hopefully, he keeps that going for the rest of the year because he is an important player for us – he complements what we have really well.”
The Swans enjoy the bye this week ahead of their next game, the round-13 blockbuster against premiers Geelong at the SCG on Friday June 22.
Longmire said Sydney co-captain Adam Goodes, who has missed six weeks with a quadriceps muscle injury, was on track to make his return in that game.