Sydney champion Josh Kennedy is facing a tough fight to take part in the likely Swans final campaign, with a serious hamstring injury that will disable him for several months.
Kennedy suffered a right hamstring tendon injury as a result of a rude attempt to damage Carlton defender Sam Dockerty, which also resulted in his disqualification for one match.
His sanction has no effect, given that the veteran of the 289 games awaits at least eight and possibly 10 weeks on the sidelines, recovering from the worst injury of his career.
But Sydney will bring back James Roubotham because of his own disqualification for rude behavior for one match.
Kennedy’s midfield opportunities have already shrunk this year, coinciding with him playing more on the flanks and sometimes even in defense as he enters the football twilight.
The magic milestone of 300 games is now also unattainable if he doesn’t play next season.
Coach John Longmeier described Kennedy’s failure as “significant” even though he avoided surgery, but the former captain did not refuse to return to the senior squad in 2022.
“He will continue to focus on rehabilitation and amendments, what he needs to do and then look at the end of the year,” Longmeyer said.
“Meanwhile, he will be assisting us in coaching and management work, and that’s great.
“He’s a fantastic asset at the football club, but he’s also determined to rehabilitate and see what the end of the season can bring him.”
Longmeier did not comment on Kennedy’s chances of regaining his place at the end of the season, saying he would “bring himself to the best of his ability and do everything in his power to return and play.”
The Swans continue to suffer costly setbacks – the latter conceding nine goals in the second quarter to Carlton in a 15-point defeat – at a time when they are preparing to face Richmond and then Melbourne in a tough two weeks.
Many of them appeared at the beginning of the games, and Longmeier called the issue “the story of our year.”
On Friday night, the Tigers will not have forward Tom Lynch (hamstring) and Kane Lambert (hips), but Longmayer still fears the prime ministers of 2017, 2018 and 2020.
“I think they’ve only lost two-quarters of a foot in the last month, so they’ve been really consistent,” he said.
“They would come back really confident in the foot brand they play. This is of course a very familiar foot style.
“They’re very serious about it, they play a real brand, and they (Jack) Rivoldt have a very good role ahead and a really good defense system, so they’re one of the team form if you don’t form a team in the last four weeks.”