Main content

Kennedy's late dash to Perth after birth of child

Josh Kennedy and Ana Calle photographed on the red carpet during the 2014 Brownlow Medal function at the SCG, Sydney on September 22, 2014 (Photo: Craig Golding/AFL Media)
Josh Kennedy with partner Ana Calle

SYDNEY Swans star midfielder Josh Kennedy will make a late dash to Perth on Friday ahead of Saturday's clash with Fremantle after remaining in Sydney for the birth of his first child.

Kennedy did not travel with the team on Wednesday and was absent from the Swans' training session at Domain Stadium on Thursday.

Swans coach John Longmire confirmed that midfielder would be travelling on Friday morning.

"He's coming across, he'll be playing," Longmire said on Thursday.

"(Partner) Ana was fine, baby's fine. He'll be coming across first thing in the morning. It was his first, a boy.

"It's great everyone's healthy, which is the main thing."

Longmire also confirmed that All Australian defender Nick Smith would return after missing last week with groin tightness.

"He was named last week, but he pulled up a bit tight on the Friday so we pulled him out of the team," Longmire said.

"But he trained earlier in the week for us, and we expect he'll be right to play this week.

"He's a real high-quality defender. He'll have his hands full on the weekend.

"But we've got a lot of faith. He's able to do his job most weeks."

It hasn't been the perfect preparation for the Swans this week.

Aside from Kennedy flying in late the Swans also had to deal with horrendous weather in Sydney this week.

They arrived in Perth to pristine sunshine, but Longmire said the disrupted preparation wasn't a concern.

"We trained indoors on Tuesday so it might have affected it there a little bit but not to a great extent," he said.

"It was a lighter session anyway. We have our main session today.

"It affected getting into the footy club and away from the footy club and it was pretty wet for three or four days. I have never seen anything like it."

Longmire was full of praise for the Fremantle midfield, saying the Dockers had one of the deepest and most balanced midfield groups in the AFL.

"If you look at Fremantle's midfield their depth and quality is absolutely A-grade," Longmire said.

"They're quality at contested ball. They're goalkicking mids as well, which makes them really dangerous. They've just got a great variety of types that go through that area of the ground.

"They're as well balanced as any midfield going around."

Longmire was coy about whether he would designate a tag to any of the Fremantle midfielders.

Dockers coach Ross Lyon said earlier on Thursday he was sure that Harry Cunningham would go straight to Stephen Hill.

"We'll see," Longmire said.

"Sometimes we haven't done it and still had success, and sometimes we've done it and still struggled as well.

"It's just a matter of our midfield group versus their midfield group and our midfield group fully understands the quality that's facing them on Saturday."