AFL world reacts to heartbreaking Josh Kennedy news: 'Sad day'

·5-min read
Veteran Swans midfielder Josh Kennedy is calling time on his AFL career at the end of the season. Pic: Getty
Veteran Swans midfielder Josh Kennedy is calling time on his AFL career at the end of the season. Pic: Getty

The AFL community is celebrating the career of Sydney Swans premiership player Josh Kennedy, after the veteran midfielder on Tuesday called time on his glittering career.

Kennedy will call it quits at the end of the season after suffering another hamstring injury playing in the VFL over the weekend.

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Just two days after West Coast's own Josh Kennedy played his last game in the AFL, his Sydney namesake confirmed that the 2022 season would also be his last.

"It is with a heavy heart but a whole lot of gratitude that I make this announcement today," Kennedy said.

"I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone at the club. The overarching sentiment I want to leave is one of gratitude - I am grateful to Alistair Clarkson and Hawthorn for the opportunity, and to the Sydney Swans for believing in me.

"I'm eternally grateful to the football club, the players past and present, the support staff that make the club great from the board level down, and of course all the fans and supporters over the journey who have supported me and the team and made me feel very special to belong to such a great club."

Kennedy played in the Swans' VFL game against North Melbourne on Sunday as he eyed a return to the senior team, but walked off the Arden St ground in pain.

Swans coach John Longmire said after the club's AFL victory against the Kangaroos that Kennedy would have scans on his hamstring to determine the damage.

Seen here, Sydney's Josh Kennedy looks on during a training session.
Sydney's Josh Kennedy has confirmed that the 2022 season will be his last in the AFL. Pic: Getty

"It was on the other side (the left), it's not the (right) hamstring he did early in the season," Longmire said.

"He told me 'I just pulled up a bit short at the start of the second quarter and knew I'd done something and would stop the game.

"How bad it is I don't know."

On Tuesday, Longmire paid tribute to Kennedy for his enormous contribution to the club.

Swans coach hails Josh Kennedy's contribution to club

"On behalf of the footy club I just want to thank Josh for what he has contributed to this place over the past 13 years. He's been a significant contributor for such a long period of time.

"One of the things we said to the players was you probably don't understand how much of a champion has been running beside you at training, preparing in the gym and sitting next to you in meetings, because he's so humble. That's just who he is.

"But it really hits you when you see how many times he has finished in the top three in our Club Champion ... he has sat comfortably among some of the all-time greats throughout his career. He's been a great player, a great confident, a great friend and a terrific captain."

Kennedy insists that returning to play remains a "hope" this season and that he'll do everything he can to help the club until the end of the season.

The former co-captain tore his hamstring in the Swans' round 10 game against Carlton and was sidelined for eight weeks.

Kennedy was an unused sub in the thumping Sydney derby win over GWS in round 20.

The veteran, who has played 290 games, will fall just short of reaching the 300-game milestone.

He played 13 games for Hawthorn, the club his father and grandfather were icons at, but moved to the Swans in 2010 to seek greater opportunities.

The three-time All-Australian has played 277 games for the Swans, including the club's 2012 grand final win over the Hawks.

AFL fans were quick to pay tribute to Kennedy's incredible career in the wake of his retirement news.

with AAP

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