AFL: Sydney Swans great Josh Kennedy could make early return from serious hamstring injury against Western Bulldogs

Marc McGowanNCA NewsWire
Swans champion Josh Kennedy could be back playing again this week after his serious hamstring setback. Phil Hillyard
Camera IconSwans champion Josh Kennedy could be back playing again this week after his serious hamstring setback. Phil Hillyard Credit: News Corp Australia

Josh Kennedy could be a shock inclusion for Sydney’s crunch clash with fellow finals contender Western Bulldogs at the SCG on Friday night.

The Swans great sustained tendon damage in his right hamstring during a crude spoiling attempt on Carlton’s Sam Docherty in May that cost him a one-match ban.

Sydney’s medical staff expected Kennedy to miss between eight and 10 weeks recovering from his hamstring setback, with Friday night’s match the seven-week mark.

But coach John Longmire said on Monday the 34-year-old midfielder could play as soon as this week, although that could be at VFL or AFL level.

“We’d like to see how his training progresses this week. There’s a couple of important steps he’s still got to make in the ramp up,” Longmire said.

“He has been training for a couple of weeks doing ball work, but this week is an important week for him, so we’ll see how he goes.

“It’s just a matter of us and the medical staff sitting down and working out this week whether he’s done enough to be able to play or if he needs another week, so we’ll work that out later in the week.”

Kennedy’s return would leave only ruckman Sam Naismith (knee), Colin O’Riordan (hip/groin) and Marc Sheather (foot) sidelined.

Isaac Heeney pulled up well after copping an accidental knee to one of his quads during the Swans’ disappointing defeat to Essendon on Saturday and is expected to face the Dogs.

Harry Cunningham is a strong contender to return after an interrupted season, with the Swans opting to play him in the VFL at the weekend after returning from a positive Covid test.

James Bell, Peter Ladhams, Hayden McLean, Joel Amartey and Sam Wicks are other potential inclusions should Longmire swing the axe after the costly loss to the Bombers.

They are clinging to the final spot in the top eight with seven rounds to go and could either tumble out or move two games clear of the Bulldogs depending on this week’s result.

Luke Beveridge’s side ended Sydney’s unbeaten start at Marvel Stadium in round 3, with his midfielders dominating their Swans counterparts.

Swans 21.6.22  - Pride
Camera IconCould the Swans pair Peter Ladhams with Tom Hickey in the ruck? Phil Hillyard Credit: News Corp Australia

“(The ladder permutations are) always relevant, but we don’t focus on it as a footy team,” Longmire said.

“We know it’s important, but nothing is more important than getting your process right, and that’s what we’ve always done at the footy club ... focus on things we can control.

“The Doggies have got a couple of days up on us and we need to make sure we make the most of our preparation this week, on a short week, to take on the Doggies on Friday.”

Longmire said Sydney was still striving for greater consistency, with mid-match lapses or a failure to capitalise on momentum, such as the third quarter against the Bombers, still an issue.

Originally published as AFL: Sydney Swans great Josh Kennedy could make early return from serious hamstring injury against Western Bulldogs

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