Kennelly gets the chop amid doubts over AFL future

TADHG KENNELLY’S AFL future is in serious doubt after the former All-Ireland winning Kerry footballer was dropped from the Sydney Swans squad for tomorrow’s crucial clash with St Kilda.

Speculation is rampant in Australia that Kennelly may have played his last game for the Swans, as the Listowel native has been struggling for form and is yet to sign a new deal with the club for 2012.

Kennelly’s below-par season prompted Swans’ coach John Longmire to axe the Kerryman from the team for tomorrow’s match, though he was keen to stress the premiership defender still has a future at the club.

The challenge is now for the 30-year-old former GAA star, who won an All-Ireland with his native county in 2009, is to win back his place in the Swans first team and squash the rumours he is also considering retirement, with a possible coaching role being mooted.

“We’ve been probably discussing it for a few weeks in regards to trying to get Tadhg to play his best footy,” Longmire said.

“Sometimes the best way is to go back and play reserves footy and get a bit of confidence and touch doing it that way.

“We haven’t thought about [long term], we’re only thinking about this week’s game. This is all we’re focused on, three really important games for us to go. Obviously it starts this week but it doesn’t mean Tadhg isn’t going to play for the rest of the year either.

“We just made the decision on what we thought was best for us this week. I know Tadhg is really proud and determined.

“Sometimes you just need to get back, have a run around, get a bit of the footy, defend well and feel good about yourself.”

Speaking on the Swans’ website this week, Kennelly admitted that he is struggling with form: “It’s been a hard couple of weeks. I just have to try and get my belief back and my confidence back.”

Kennelly, in his second stint in the AFL, has played 193 games for the Swans and famously became the first Irishman to win an AFL Premiership medal with the Sydney club in 2005.

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