Goodes might return to AFL against Cats

Sydney are cautiously optimistic that Adam Goodes will be back at the club this week, amid hopes he will also return to the AFL next weekend.

Swans coach John Longmire is scheduled to hold a media conference on Monday afternoon.

If Goodes plays against Geelong on Saturday night at Simonds Stadium, it will be an immediate test of widespread pleas around the league for opposition fans to stop booing him.

The two-time Brownlow Medallist is understood to have travelled out of Sydney for a few days in the wake of his racism controversy.

The Swans gave Goodes indefinite time off after West Coast fans booed him during last Sunday’s game in Perth.

The controversy reignited an often-poisonous debate through the week about racism, how fans perceive Goodes and even whether it is right to boo opposition players.

Geelong coach Chris Scott said last week that anyone who boos Goodes from now on should be and would be considered a racist.

Club chief executive Brian Cook said any abuse of the Swans star at Simonds Stadium would not be the Cats’ way.

While the issue continues to sharply divide national opinion, there was widespread support for Goodes around the AFL this weekend.

St Kilda indigenous great Nicky Winmar took part in a ceremony that paid tribute to Goodes before Sunday’s match between the Saints and Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.

Winmar joined Power indigenous stars Gavin Wanganeen and Byron Pickett in greeting the two captains at the coin toss.

It is 22 years since Winmar raised his Saints guernsey and pointed to his skin in defiance of the racist abuse from Collingwood fans during a match at Victoria Park.

A newspaper photo of Winmar’s gesture is an iconic AFL image.

Also on Sunday, Western Bulldogs captain Rob Murphy had Goodes’ No.37 on his guernsey for the warm-up and coin toss before the match against Essendon at Etihad Stadium.

Murphy then wore his usual No.2 for the match as the Bulldogs played in their indigenous round guernseys.

One of the most poignant gestures for Goodes came during Sydney’s home win on Saturday over Adelaide.

In the third term, the SCG crowd applauded Goodes at the seventh minute.

On Sunday morning, outspoken MP Clive Palmer said people should not make too much of crowds booing Goodes.

The Palmer United Party leader told ABC TV that when Goodes wore the Swans’ jersey it was natural for fans from another club to boo him.

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