24/04/2024

Josh Kennedy was seen in unfamiliar territory against GWS on Saturday night (Image: Sydney Swans)

Sydney veteran, Josh Kennedy, found himself in unfamiliar territory on Saturday, lining up as a defender in his team's 20-point win over GWS.

On Saturday night, the Sydney Swans debuted a new look defence in their season opener against cross-town rivals GWS.

The return of Paddy McCartin to the AFL has been well reported in recent times, playing his first match as a defender at the top level.

Another Swan playing his first AFL match as a defender was former captain, Josh Kennedy.

The serial clearance winner and contest expert was found in unfamiliar territory for majority of the match in the Swans’ 20-point win over the Giants.

12 disposals, zero clearances and zero contested possessions is not a stat-line you would normally associate with the three time Bob Skilton medallist, however, that was the reality and result of his new role in the Sydney back-line.

Questioned about Kennedy’s transition to defence, Sydney coach, John Longmire, highlighted the importance of versatility for his team:

“Yeah he’s been doing it (playing in defence) over the last couple of weeks, he’s another one that will just get ‘flying hours’, as will a few of our younger fellas, Braeden Campbell and Logan McDonald, those guys, they just need some flying hours,” Longmire said.

“He won’t be spectacular every week, Josh has got the capacity to be able to play a number of roles for us, it adds another string to his bow and we’re keen to keep exploring that with our team.

“Whether it’s (Justin) McInerney back or on the wing, or Josh can play midfield, he can play wing. It adds a bit of variety to our team which is important.”

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The AFL Life Member stood down from captaincy ahead of the 2022 season, paving the way for Swans academy graduate, Callum Mills, to move into the top leadership position.

The Sydney coach was questioned whether this move would allow Kennedy to focus more on himself in the twilight of his career.

“No,” Longmire quickly refuted.

“He’s in our leadership group, and he’s a leader. It doesn’t matter whether he’s got a ‘C’ next to his name or not, he focuses on the team and himself like he has done over the last however many years.

“It’s just who he is. It’s not about focusing on himself, he’s a good enough leader to be able to do two things at once.”

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