Kennedy threat offers nightmare twist for Hawks
Josh Kennedy on target against the Pies. Pic: AFL Media

The legendary figure of John Kennedy Sr towers over Hawthorn players as they train, but it is his grandson that is playing on their minds.

Several Hawks on Sunday nominated Sydney's Josh Kennedy, who Hawthorn traded away three years ago, as a key to the Swans' hopes in Saturday's grand final.

The tall, powerful midfielder was best afield in Friday night's preliminary final win over Collingwood, justifying his selection in the All-Australian side earlier in the week.

It is a fascinating twist that a member of the family that has played a part in so many Hawthorn premierships is now central to potentially denying them another.

John Kennedy Sr, who won four Hawthorn best and fairests and captained the club in the 1950s, coached them to their first three flags in 1961, 1971 and 1976.

An official club legend and coach of their team of the century, a bronze statue of Kennedy dominates the stand at the Hawks' Waverley training base.

His son, John Kennedy Sr, played in four Hawthorn premierships during the 1980s and when Josh Kennedy was drafted under the father-son rule in 2006, he became the Hawks' first third-generation player.

Traded at the end of 2009 by Hawthorn, who struggled to squeeze him into a midfield containing Sam Mitchell, Brad Sewell, Jordan Lewis and Luke Hodge, Kennedy has blossomed at the Swans to the extent that he is a strong contender for Monday night's Brownlow Medal.

When asked on Sunday to assess the Swans as grand final opponents, Kennedy was the first player named by several Hawks.

"They've got some good players, some hard players, especially Joey Kennedy," Hawthorn's Cyril Rioli said.

Hawks defender Grant Birchall agreed.

"They were very impressive," he said of the Swans' preliminary final performance.

"Obviously guys like Kennedy and (Ryan) O'Keefe through the middle of the ground were really strong.

Wingman Clinton Young said the Hawks knew Kennedy would become a good player and it was a shame it wasn't with them.

"It's unfortunate that he's not playing for us any more," Young said.

"But we've got some midfielders who can hopefully negate his influence.

"He had a great game on the weekend."

Another Swan, Ben McGlynn, fighting to overcome a hamstring injury to play in the grand final, was also traded from Hawthorn in the deal that sent Kennedy north.

McGlynn tore a hamstring in the Swans' qualifying final victory over Adelaide, but expects to train fully later in the week and be available for selection.

Australian Associated Press

The West Australian

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