Sydney Swans coach John Longmire has Paul Roos in his head when pondering the long-awaited AFL return of star veteran Josh Kennedy.
The former Swans co-captain made an impressive comeback in the VFL last weekend after two months out with a hamstring injury.
Kennedy racked up 29 touches and seven clearances in a 20-point loss to Southport to press his case for a recall to the Swans’ AFL team as soon as this Saturday’s match against Adelaide at the SCG.
The 34-year-old is 11 games away from the magical 300 mark, but can now only reach the milestone if he plays on next year.
Longmire believes Kennedy still has a major role to play in the Swans’ finals tilt despite the emergence of young stars like Chad Warner and Errol Gulden.
Kennedy pulled up well after playing around 85 minutes in the VFL and, according to Longmire, could have withstood more match time.
Longmire admits he learned a lot from Roos, his decorated coaching predecessor at the Swans, when dealing with elite players.
“The good thing is he’s come out of that game really well, so terrific sign for Josh and us,” Longmire said on Monday.
“We’ve had discussions all year about what the selection process looks like with him.
“He wants to be the best player still that he can possibly be, as they all do, and as he’s done throughout a long period of time.
“He understands the evolution of the team and where his role suits in that process.
“He’s absolutely open to playing any role that we need him to play, that’s the sort of person he is.
“I always learned from Roosy; when he first took over he said to the group, ‘I’ll treat you all differently, I won’t treat you all the same because you’re all different people, you’ve got different records’.
“It’s something I’ve tried to keep strong with my coaching is everyone is a bit different so you need to treat them differently as individuals.
“Josh is right to be able to be respected, (and) I’m sure he’ll contribute really strong in the back half of the year for us.”
Meanwhile, Longmire said “nothing surprises me in footy these days” when asked about speculation surrounding legendary forward Lance Franklin.
The Swans and the 35-year-old are yet to come terms on a new contract, with a report last week indicating he could retire or move to a third club next year.
“We spoke about (it) going into the game,” Longmire told reporters, when asked if he had discussed the matter with Franklin after the story emerged.
“There’s a bit of noise outside, but inside the footy club it’s about trying to win.
“That’s what we focused on last week and that’s what we’ll focus on this week.”