Josh Kennedy: resilience and a squad mentality the key to handling injuries

Brayden Ainsowrth and Brendan Ah Chee cop a Gatorade shower after beating GWS on Saturday. Photo: Getty
Brayden Ainsowrth and Brendan Ah Chee cop a Gatorade shower after beating GWS on Saturday. Photo: Getty

ONE of the key aspects of the club’s strong start to the season has been the level of consistency we have enjoyed, with little variation between our best and worst football.

To be a contender to play finals football that’s the balance you need to find and it has helped us win the last seven games in a row, including last weekend’s win against GWS.

What we have strived to achieve is that regardless of who makes the 22-man team each week we consistently hit our team KPIs. And that was what was so satisfying against the Giants.

To beat them by four goals without Nic Naitanui, Luke Shuey, Dom Sheed, Jeremy McGovern and a few others was really pleasing. The resilience in the group has been pivotal to the way have approached the whole season and there is a definite “squad mentality” around the club.

It has been common this year to have a player debut for the club and last week Brayden Ainsworth and Brendon Ah Chee came into the team for the first time. Both played their roles last week and contributed to the win.

Adam Simpson has spoken about it quite a bit and when one player goes out of our team we want our structures and systems to hold up. That means everyone plays their role from week to week.

It is the mark of a good team. Every club will have a few injuries during the course of the year, but the teams that put themselves in a position to play finals handle that adversity better than others.

So far we have been able to deal with the loss of important players, but we haven’t achieved anything yet. As Simmo has also said a few times, the first step is all about winning enough games to qualify for finals and we want to do that as quickly as possible.

We have laid a solid foundation, but we are only halfway to the point where we can comfortably consider we will be in the top eight.

And the next task is to play the reigning premier, Richmond, at Optus Stadium this Sunday.

The Tigers are the biggest challenge in the game right now.

They have pretty much had all the answers when they have been under threat this year, just as they did against the Kangaroos last week.

We will need to be at our best against them and we are all looking forward to the test.