"Look at the scoreboard" quip a cheeky moment for Billy
IT WAS one of the more amusing moments from the last round - if you're not a Fremantle fan.
But St Kilda ruckman Billy Longer says if he had his time again, he wouldn't have suggested to Dockers opponent Zac Clarke during their final-quarter scrap at Docklands that he "look at the scoreboard".
Players have been using the gesture almost as long as there have been scoreboards, but now rarely at the elite level, which is why former champions such as Dermott Brereton welcomed Longer's 'cheeky' act.
"I guess sometimes during the heat of the game you might say or do things you otherwise wouldn't," he told APN this week.
"I've got enormous respect for Fremantle ... and I hope it wasn't taken the wrong way.
"It wasn't personal at all. We (he and Clarke) were having a 'little chat' and it just sort of slipped out. We were fine after the game."
But, few - even those Dockers supporters - could blame the 21-year-old for showing some emotion.
The Saints had endured a horror stretch, losing 11 straight games and becoming anchored to the bottom of the ladder, before crushing the flag contender by 10 goals.
"I was pretty excited, to be honest. It was my first win at St Kilda," said the 201cm big man, who was playing his 11th game for the club after heading south from Brisbane at the end of last year.
Longer had been limited to just nine senior appearances in his first two seasons, with Matthew Leuenberger the Lions' first-choice ruck.
"I loved my time up in Brisbane," he said. "I was just looking at where I could get the best opportunities to play AFL.
At the end of the day, that's why we're all here.
"It's been great for my confidence to be able to string a few games together ... great to have that opportunity to play with these guys (such as Nick Riewoldt and Lenny Hayes) and learn from them and the players we come up against each week."
Premier Hawthorn had been his club of choice when requesting a trade back to Victoria, but the Hawks thwarted the move by instead recruiting St Kilda's Ben McEvoy. That in turn opened the door for Longer at Seaford.
"These things happen and I'm super happy with the outcome," said Longer, who will develop alongside a host of promising young Saints midfielders. "One door shuts and another one opens."
Longer will be hoping he can be apart of another Saints win tonight at Carrara against Gold Coast, which is coming off two damaging defeats and is missing injured big men Zac Smith, Charlie Dixon, and Tom Nicholls.
Daniel Gorringe comes in for his first game of 2014 as cover.
"It was nice to show we can play a full four-quarter game of footy," Longer said of last week's win over Fremantle.
"But, we need to make sure it's not just a one-game thing. We need to make sure we do all the right things to give us the best opportunity to play more football like that ... the way we want to play."
Needing a win to keep their finals hopes alive, the 10th-placed Suns will be desperate, however.
"We're expecting they are going to really test us," he said. "After a tough couple of weeks, we know more than anyone, you really feel you want to make a difference, you want to try anything to get a win."
Longer said he would let his actions do the talking this time.