SYDNEY co-captain Josh Kennedy has thrown his support behind Adam Goodes and his decision to knock back an offer to be inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame this year.
Goodes played 372 matches with the Swans, winning two premierships, two Brownlow Medals and four All-Australian nods, but retired at the end of 2015 having been subjected to sustained racist booing in his final two seasons.
The three-time best-and-fairest winner is one of only eight Swans to be recognised by the club as 'Bloods Legends', and is the most recent inductee after joining the illustrious group in 2019.
"On a personal level and as a club we respect Adam's decision. As far we're concerned, he's a legend of our footy club, he's a legend of the game and he's a legend of a teammate, and really that's all that matters," Kennedy said on Wednesday.
"He's officially a legend of the Swans football club and he would be of the AFL, whether he wants to accept that or not, in our eyes.
"He'd know that he holds a strong place in our hearts and that of everyone that walks through this footy club. I know that in my dealings that he's got a huge connection with the footy club and the Bloods, I'm sure that will never change."
Kennedy’s prospects of joining Goodes, as well as Jude Bolton, Jarrad McVeigh and Michael O’Loughlin as the only Swans to play 300 games for the club have received a boost with the midfielder signing a contract extension to play on in 2022.
The 32-year-old has played 257 matches for the Swans since joining the club ahead of the 2010 season, after 13 games for his former club Hawthorn.
"I'm really grateful again for the continued opportunity, and just to be part of this group going forward, it is an exciting time," Kennedy said.
"I've been pretty happy with the way that I'm going and certainly the way that I'm feeling in terms of my ability to play every game this year and back up on the training track. And my output has been relatively consistent as well over the course of the year.
"Above all, just seeing the growth as well in our team and our young players and the way that we're gelling together more as the weeks go on."
The veteran midfielder said that he has been impressed but not surprised by the improvement of young guns like Oliver Florent, James Rowbottom and Chad Warner this season.
With an 8-4 record and a match against old rivals Hawthorn at the SCG to come before a bye, the Swans are well placed to make their first finals appearance since losing to Greater Western Sydney in the 2018 elimination final.
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Kennedy has played 22 finals in his 14 seasons and sees the opportunity for the group to test themselves in September as an important step in their development.
"It would be big. To experience that, to feel that as a player, that's what footy is all about and I think is the biggest motivating factor for any player. To get a taste of it certainly helps with that," he said.
"You're constantly measuring yourself against the best teams in the competition. We take a lot of confidence out of certain games this year and the way that we've played in patches.
"But we've still got some ground to make up. That's our focus, but certainly that confidence to know that you can match it against the best gives us a lift."
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