Nick Blakey’s season is over and Josh Kennedy is at risk of missing Sydney’s first AFL final due to a hamstring strain, but the Swans are set to welcome back three big names for their last home-and-away assignment of the year.
There was mixed news on the injury front for the Swans on Monday as in-form utility Blakey was ruled out for the rest of the year, while Kennedy was sent for scans to survey the damage he sustained in the final moments of Saturday night’s 14-point win over North Melbourne.
Blakey limped off after landing awkwardly on his right ankle in a marking contest during the third quarter against the Kangaroos. The injury was revealed as a cracked fibula rather than syndesmosis or anything ligament-related.
It’s a cruel blow for Sydney and for the 21-year-old, who appeared to have finally found his niche at AFL level in his new role across half-back. Blakey will now see a specialist and is likely to have a metal plate inserted over the crack in the lower part of his leg but should be right for day one of pre-season training, coach John Longmire said.
“He’s learning the craft of playing defence and getting better every week. It’s really disappointing for him . . . he was getting to be a really valuable asset across half-back,” Longmire said.
The Swans will at least regain a like-for-like replacement in Jake Lloyd for this weekend’s clash with the Gold Coast Suns, while Callum Mills (Achilles) and Lance Franklin (rested) are also expected to return.
But the AFL’s decision to can the pre-finals bye could result in Swans co-captain Kennedy missing a likely elimination final derby clash against Greater Western Sydney.
Kennedy, 33, won’t face the Suns, but Longmire was optimistic about the veteran midfielder’s prognosis beyond this weekend, saying he had pulled up well but admitting scans later on Monday would determine his availability for the first week of finals.
“We suspect he’s got a very low-grade hamstring [strain], it’ll only be very minor,” Longmire said. “We’ll see how he is for next week, but the scan will give us a bit more information.”