Sydney AFL star Adam Goodes has been given a couple of days off and is no certainty to face Adelaide on Saturday, as he battles to deal with regular booing from opposition fans.
Goodes did not attend the Swans’ training session at the SCG on Tuesday, two days after being relentlessly booed by West Coast supporters in the match at Domain Stadium.
Sydney coach John Longmire said Goodes was sick and tired of the booing which he has been subjected to at several away games over the past couple of months.
“Adam needs a couple of days away from the football club and to take a breath about it,” Longmire said.
Asked if the two-time Brownlow medallist would play against the Crows at the SCG Longmire replied: “We’ll just take that as we go.
“We need to make sure that we’re fully supportive of him and wait a day or two and let things settle down and he’ll decide that.
“There’s no pressure on him at all.”
Longmire suggested it was wrong to assume Goodes wasn’t affected by the booing despite his recent good form.
“He’s a very strong individual and he’s able to go about his business on a week-to-week basis,” Longmire said.
“But sometimes though we can all assume it doesn’t hurt him, and it does.”
Goodes has spoken out about the booing and also suggested the subject should be ignored to starve of it publicity, but neither approach has worked.
“We’ve tried to deal with it to this point, but it hasn’t worked,” Longmire said.
Goodes didn’t attend a meeting on Tuesday between representatives of the Swans, the AFL and the AFL Players’ Association but Sydney football general manager Tom Harley said Goodes had spoken to each of those parties in the previous 24 hours.
Harley described the meeting as productive and said tangible solutions would emerge in due course.
“What was absolutely unequivocal was the fact that the key players being the Swans, the AFL and certainly the Players’ Association are all of the same view, that we’ve had enough and this behaviour that’s directed towards Adam has to stop,” Harley said.
He said the Swans felt the booing had racial connotations, but stopped short of branding the culprits as racist.
“We’re not saying that people are racist, but we are saying if you are involved in this behaviour, we think that’s racially motivated,” Harley said.
“It is a complex issue but my personal views and I know the club’s views are the same, is that whatever the motivation is, the behaviour being directed at Adam is abhorrent. It’s as simple as that.”
Harley said the Swans were proud of the actions of Lewis Jetta in his war dance goal celebrations in support of Goodes on the weekend, but wondered whether the current climate might deter other indigenous players from taking a similar stand.
“We’re talking about in my personal view a player in Adam who has probably done more for the game than anyone in the past 20 years,” Harley said.
“He’s won two Brownlow Medals, he’s the games record holder at this club and he’s been treated the way he is at the moment.
“If you’re young indigenous players, do you think you’re going to put your head up at the moment and stand up?
He said his former club Geelong, the next team to host Sydney, had already been in contact with the Swans about addressing the issue.