Sydney Swans champion Josh Kennedy has dismissed suggestions Buddy Franklin will have regrets that he made his call to retire before his side made the finals. Franklin made the decision to hang up his boots just days after sustaining a calf injury in round 20.
It was believed the injury would rule Franklin out for the rest of the regular season, and with no guarantees that the Swans would make the finals, the 36-year-old called it quits with immediate effect. At the time, the Swans were halfway through what ended up being a six-game winning streak that completed their late-season revival and booked their ticket to the finals.
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We'll never know if Franklin would have been fit to take part in the Swans' September campaign, but Kennedy raised some eyebrows on Monday when he jokingly suggested John Longmire could still pull Buddy out of retirement. But the former Swans captain wound back his comments when pressed further on the subject at the AFL's official finals launch.
"When he makes a call like that, it's firm and he knows what he's doing," Kennedy said of Franklin. "I just think from a Swans point of view, when you've got a champion like that, you'd love to have him out there come September."
The Swans were rocked by injuries early in the season and sat as low as 15th after round 17. However they produced a remarkable turnaround that saw them surge into the top eight. The Swans will now take on Carlton in an elimination final at the MCG on Friday night.
"They've shown an incredible amount of resilience, which they always do, to be able to fight it out and scrap their way back into the September action," Kennedy said. "Now they've had another week off to freshen up and anything's possible."
Nick Daicos won't return for Collingwood-Melbourne clash
Someone else who won't be making a return in the first week of the finals is Collingwood superstar Nick Daicos. Magpies coach Craig McRae confirmed on Monday that Daicos will not return from injury in Thursday's qualifying final against Melbourne.
Daicos started running on Sunday for the first time since sustaining a hairline fracture in his right knee in round 21. The 20-year-old completed run-throughs away from Collingwood's main training group, and gradually built up speed as he progressed.
There were some suggestions that Daicos would make a surprise return in the qualifying final, and McRae left the door ajar for that possibility a number of times. But the coach has opted to play it safe and keep his young star on ice.
"He's not quite right unfortunately," McRae told SEN radio on Monday. "But I think we all knew that, I just didn't want to admit to it at one stage - just let it take its own course. This one's clearly a medical decision not a football decision."
Mcrae said the Magpies were buoyed by Daicos striding out on his own on Sunday. "I saw Nick run yesterday and I went over as he was just doing his first strides and I'm like fist-pumping 'Yes', and just seen this one small step for man, one giant leap for Collingwood," McRae joked. "It's a nice thing to see him progressing."
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