Sydney champion Josh Kennedy will be part of the Swans’ finals assault despite coach John Longmire admitting he has had frank discussions with him about his changing role.
The 34-year-old made a successful return in the VFL at the weekend after suffering tendon damage in his right hamstring during a spoiling attempt on Carlton’s Sam Docherty in May that cost him a one-match ban.
Kennedy amassed 26 disposals, nine tackles and six clearances in roughly 85 minutes’ work in a sharp showing that has him in the senior selection mix for as soon as Saturday’s clash with Adelaide.
He was used as the medical substitute at times this season but Longmire made it clear that Kennedy still had “plenty to contribute the rest of this year”.
“I spoke to him this morning and he felt really good and pulled up really well and could have kept playing, so that’s a good sign,” Longmire said.
“What we do in selection; I’m not sure just yet … we’ve had discussions all year about what the selection process looks like with him. I’ve got a terrific relationship with Josh and he’s all about team.
“He still wants to be the best player he can possibly be … but he understands what the bigger picture looks like and also wants to make sure that he has a good crack at the end of this year.”
Sydney climbed into sixth spot with consecutive defeats of the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle after a nine-point slip-up against Essendon that has Longmire wary about his team’s consistency.
This week’s clash with the Crows and ex-Swan Jordan Dawson, who departed in a high-profile trade last year, represents the chance to win three games in a row for just the second time in 2022.
“We’ve been up and down during the course of games, as well as from week-to-week, so we’re still striving for that,” Longmire said.
“It was only three weeks ago we lost against Essendon, then we’ve come out the last two playing some pretty consistent footy … but there’s always (room for) improvement and we need to keep improving.”
Joel Amartey (shoulder) is expected to be fit to play against Adelaide, which could make it more difficult for Logan McDonald to return, although Longmire was complimentary of his performance at VFL level.
The famously pragmatic coach also won’t let last week’s Lance Franklin headlines around Sydney’s alleged “lowball” contract offer to the legendary goalkicker distract his side.
“Nothing surprises me in footy these days,” he said of the Franklin drama.
“No, (I have not spoken to Franklin about it). We spoke about going into the game. There’s a bit of noise outside, but inside the footy club, it’s about trying to win and that’s what we focused on last week and that’s what we’ll focus on this week.
“I don’t comment on the contract status of our players.”