No blessing but shoulder's OK: Kennelly - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No blessing but shoulder's OK: Kennelly

By Adrian Warren 18/07/2008 06:39:47 PM Comments (0)

Sydney star Tadhg Kennelly wasn't able to get the Pope to bless his troublesome shoulder but has no doubt it will withstand the rigours of Sunday's clash against Carlton at Telstra Dome.

The Irish half-back flanker will celebrate his 150th senior appearance despite requiring strapping on his left shoulder, which he dislocated against Hawthorn last week.

The 27-year-old expected Carlton might target his shoulder but wasn't concerned about doing further damage in a tackling situation.

"I have no problem getting tackled or getting hit, it's only when I switch off myself mentally that the muscle switches off and that's when it comes out," Kennelly said.

"Any time I've tackled or got tackled I've got no problem whatsoever because I'm switching on the muscle itself quite easily.

"I don't want to make an issue of it, there's a lot of players playing with injury in football and there's a lot worse things that could be happening."

A practising Catholic, Kennelly's efforts to receive some papal assistance went sadly unrewarded, but he has thrown himself enthusiastically into World Youth Day celebrations whilst downplaying his own football achievement.

"When I played my first (AFL) game, I said I could die tomorrow and I'd be a happy man, so I never really thought I'd play 150," Kennelly said.

"We've got a few more issues at hand at the moment, I haven't really thought about it too much, I've tried to get near the Pope to fix me up."

Sydney coach Paul Roos regarded Kennelly's milestone as a "super" effort.

"He's probably if not our most valuable player certainly right up there," Roos said.

"He's a very, very important player and I think you probably judge your own players sometimes on how the opposition look at them and I think when he plays, all the opposition teams try to drag Tadhg back or target him.

"They put a lot of time and effort into him so clearly I think across the board in AFL he's a very well-respected player."

Roos was looking for some more excitement and enthusiasm from his team after successive losses to fellow finals aspirants Collingwood and Hawthorn.

The mentor had a witty and novel suggestion as to what might have to happen if Kennelly's shoulder popped out again on Sunday.

"It's just a matter of whether (team doctor Nathan) Gibbs can get out there quicker than what he did on the weekend, we might have to employ a really quick assistant doctor and give our players special training on how to get a shoulder back in," Roos said.

Kennelly reiterated he would decide after his contract expired at the end of next year whether to stay with Sydney or return to Gaelic football.

Nick Malceski was listed to play despite being a late withdrawal from last week's game with a calf injury while Roos was looking for debutant Matt O'Dwyer to bring some more run to the Swans.

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