Swans' Kennelly keeps AFL options open - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans' Kennelly keeps AFL options open

By Adrian Warren 22/06/2006 07:57:45 PM Comments (0)

AFL premier Sydney is desperate to re-sign dashing defender Tadhg Kennelly, but the Irishman is likely to wait until the end of the season to make a decision on his footballing future.

Kennelly has previously hinted he could return home to play Gaelic football and there was further speculation he could return home following the death of his father Tim last December.

While Sydney wants to commence negotiations with Kennelly and his manager, the player stressed he was in no rush to finalise his future beyond this year.

The 24-year-old halfback said he hadn't really thought about the issue yet and didn't want to "get sidetracked mentally" during the season.

"At the end of the day, I suppose I'm going to have to talk to my family," he said.

"I'm in a situation where the club wants to know as well, but I'll wait and I'll cross that bridge when that time comes, probably at the end of the season."

Sydney coach Paul Roos said Kennelly had become a "very, very important player" for the Swans and the club had made it very clear it wanted to retain his services.

"We definitely want him to play here but we're equally as concerned with his wellbeing and his family," Roos said.

"We know that he's not going to play anywhere else and the only other option that he will determine is whether he does go back to Ireland.

"He's an extremely important player for us and we desperately want to keep him."

Roos said that the circumstances surrounding Kennelly's situation were unusual.

"There's no question if he was an Australian kid, he'd be signed by now, but the reality is that he's from Ireland and he's had a family tragedy and the circumstances are very different to the normal re-signing of a player so we're happy to wait for Tadhg and we will work to his timeframe."

While he wasn't ready to commit to Sydney beyond this season, Kennelly said he felt he still had "quite a bit of improving" left in him after taking up the game just seven years ago.

The only change to the Swans side for Saturday's Telstra Stadium clash with Collingwood is the return from injury of senior defender Ben Mathews, who replaces Sean Dempster.

Sydney co-captain and centre half-forward Barry Hall who has been troubled by hamstring soreness over the last week, trained and was selected in the side.

Hall was expected to play on Saturday unless he suffered an adverse reaction on Friday.

Collingwood made two changes, with Harry O'Brien and Rhyce Shaw replacing Adam Iacobucci and Julian Rowe.

Magpies ruckman Josh Fraser who reportedly pulled up sore after the round 11 game with Melbourne, was listed in the Collingwood side and expected to play.

Kennelly was adamant Sydney would be more focused this weekend after unconvincing efforts in its last two games before the bye.

"When you do lose, it's easier to get your focus back and I suppose it was a good thing we lose against St Kilda ... because if we won seven in a row, you can get a false sense of security that way, I suppose it gets us really focused on the job at hand."

He refused to dwell on a tough month of upcoming fixtures which also included matches with fellow premiership heavyweights Adelaide and West Coast.

"We know we've got a tough month ahead of us, but if you start worrying about Freo and West Coast, you're going to lose to Collingwood."

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