Swans’ Kennedy to play up forward more

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Swans’ Kennedy to play up forward more

Sydney AFL ball magnet Josh Kennedy envisages spending more time in a forward role this season.

With substitutions abolished and interchanges reduced to 90, Kennedy is adopting a “suck it and see” attitude in regards to what impact the changes will have on his game.

Kennedy accumulated the most contested possessions, clearances and stoppages of any player in 2015 and averaged just over 30 touches a match.

A big bodied 188 cm target, Kennedy has shown in the past he can take a good grab.

“Playing a bit up more forward I might try this year, especially with the smaller minimised rotations and not having a sub rule which will be interesting,” Kennedy said at the Swans’ fan day on Sunday.

While Kennedy is poised to spend more time forward, star spearhead Lance Franklin went in the opposite direction in Saturday’s 21-point pre-season win over Port Adelaide, having extended minutes in the midfield.

“It was good for him to be out there and see him run around,” Kennedy said.

“He’s certainly fit and healthy and raring to go, hence the reason he’s playing a lot of minutes up in the midfield.”

Franklin tallied just six touches before sitting out the final quarter of his first match against another club since he finished last season prematurely following mental health issues.

“I think he’s going alright, obviously his best position is up forward,” Kennedy said.

“We definitely need him up forward as a target to kick to.”

Kennedy said injured midfielder Jarrad McVeigh was calm and calculated in his capacity as head coach for the day against Port and was used to addressing his teammates before and during games.

“You always knew `horse” (regular head coach John Longmire) was just over his shoulder ready to give you a spray if need be,” Kennedy joked.

He was excited about the potential of 2015 draft picks Callum Mills, Jordan Dawson and Tyrone Leonardis, saying they could all have an impact this year.

Kennedy said emerging star Isaac Heeney, who he described as an “integral part of our team,” was okay despite the knee tendonitis which forced him out of the second half of the Port game.

An established member of Sydney’s leadership group, Kennedy had no qualms about the size of that section increasing to eight for this season.

“We feel that we’ve got a strong list at the moment, one that can compete for a top four spot, we want to try and win premierships,” Kennedy said.

“The more people we can have on board steering the ship, the better.”

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