One of the sinking feelings for sports fans and players alike is to see one of their clubs top players go down just when it matters most.
The attrition of a 22-game home-and-away season of the AFL Premiership competition is always a factor and perhaps all the more so for the Greater Western Sydney Giants, who were pondering the prospect of facing the Collingwood Magpies on the Pies’ home ground without Josh Kelly.
Giants Co-captain Callan Ward was the bearer of glad tidings, therefore, when he reported that he expects Kelly to answer the bell and be available for the club in the next final.
Kelly took a bump to the knee during the first quarter in the Giants’ Elimination Final win over the Swans. He was unable to return to the ground for the balance of the game, despite attempts to regain his ability to run.
The stats from that game will show that Kelly had “just” seven disposals in that game, but had he played on, the extrapolation would suggest that he would have reached 28 for the game, but…
Kelly was at training during the week, resulting in Ward telling AFL 360, “I think he is (going to play). He’s a competitor. I think he will be sore if he does play but at the same time he really wants to play and the progression he has made in the last few days has been pretty rapid.”
If thinks pan out according to Ward’s prognostication, it is good news for the Giants, as they enter the game with the hostile MCG tilted against them to the tune of 9.5 points.
Kelly is managing a damaged meniscus, the knee’s shock absorber, and the club decided not to risk him against the Swans, but they are doing everything in their power to have him ready to play the Magpies.
It is likely that Kelly will strive mightily to convince the club that he can go, as it is do-or-die time for the Giants, who must win or go home.