Sydney are undermanned, exhausted and face a six-day turnaround, but gun midfielder Josh Kennedy insists they’ll be physically ready for Friday night’s AFL preliminary final against Geelong.
The Swans returned to their best in a 36-point win over Adelaide on Saturday night, seizing control of the semi-final by booting seven goals in the first quarter at the SCG.
The result came at a cost, though, with co-captain Jarrad McVeigh and speedster Gary Rohan both injured in the opening half.
Rohan, who has endured a luckless run since breaking his leg in 2012, was taken from the field on a stretcher and is unlikely to face the Cats.
McVeigh tweaked his calf and is also in doubt for the MCG blockbuster.
The setbacks, which came after Kurt Tippett (broken jaw) and Callum Mills (hamstring) were injured in week one of the finals, left the Swans with two fit men on the bench for most of the second half on Saturday night.
“It was certainly a tough game. We were pretty exhausted by the final siren,” Kennedy said on Sunday, having starred with 42 disposals.
“But you certainly pull up a little bit better when you win and you’ve got a prelim final to look forward to.
“I’d happily play it tomorrow … we can’t wait to get into it.”
Swans coach John Longmire and the club’s medical staff face some tough decisions as they mull which 22 players should be entrusted with a grand final berth on the line.
McVeigh was close to playing out the match according to Kennedy, who suggested Tippett could be an outside chance of returning against the Cats.
“He’s another one they’ll assess during the week. He’s recovered really well, so we’ll see how he goes,” Kennedy said of Tippett.
“Jarrad came back on (early in the third quarter) … that’ll be assessed during the week and we just hope for the best.”
Rohan’s hopes of playing appear incredibly slim, with the 25-year-old in a great deal of pain after hurting himself in a marking contest.
“I’m not sure how bad it is. Obviously it didn’t look great but fingers crossed it’s the best-case scenario,” Kennedy said.
“It’s heartbreaking (whenever a player misses a final through injury) and you just feel for those guys.”
Geelong’s preparation for the game has been significantly different.
The Cats enjoyed a week off after beating Hawthorn in an epic qualifying final, and injured defender Lachie Henderson has proved his fitness and will be available.
“They’re going to be fresh but it’s a prelim final so anything can happen,” Kennedy said.
“It’ll be interesting. It’s the first time you’ve had a (pre-finals) bye.
“We’re really confident that off the back of last night we can hopefully bring that pressure and intensity again.”
Kennedy added the Swans would draw confidence from a 38-point win over the Cats in Geelong.
The Swans made four changes for that round-16 clash and dealt with a six-day break perfectly in what was arguably the highlight of their march to the minor premiership.
“The scenario was pretty similar last time we played down there,” Kennedy said.
“We’ll take confidence out of that but a lot has changed since then.”