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Tuesday, December 19 2017 @ 03:03 am ACDT

Kennelly returns to Swans in coaching role

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Recently retired AFL great Steve Johnson and Sydney premiership player Tadhg Kennelly are joining the Sydney Swans coaching ranks. 

The Irishman returns to the club where he played 197 AFL games, after holding coaching and development roles with the AFL following his retirement in 2011.

At this stage it would seem that this would remove him from the AFL payroll where he was International Talent Manager and has been heavily involved in the AFL Europe Combine testing which is predominantly focused on recruiting young Irish GAA talent.

Johnson, a triple premiership player and three-time All-Australian, will bring invaluable experience to the Swans following his outstanding playing career that spanned 293 games across 16 years with Geelong and GWS.

After kicking 516 goals during his career, Johnson will take the reins of the forward line.

Sydney Swans Head of Football Tom Harley says Johnson will be a great addition.

“Steve brings an impressive playing record and is widely acknowledged as having elite football IQ,” Harley said.

“Towards the end of his playing days, Steve invested in his coaching career and as such we are very confident that he will transition to become a quality coach.

“Steve and his family are settled in Sydney and we are excited about welcoming them to the Swans.”

Joining Johnson at the Swans will be 2005 Sydney premiership player Tadhg Kennelly.

Kennelly will join retiring Swan Jeremy Laidler as a development coach, while Nick Davis will take up the role of Talent and Development Manager for the QBE Sydney Swans Academy.

The 2017 AFL Coaches Association’s Assistant Coach of the Year, Rhyce Shaw, has been promoted to an assistant coaching position.

Harley says the Club is excited about its coaching group for season 2018.

“We are looking forward to the start of the pre-season with a new-look coaching group,” Harley said.

“Steve Johnson and Tadhg Kennelly will bring new ideas and a fresh perspective whilst Rhyce Shaw’s promotion from NEAFL coach to the senior coaching panel highlights how highly we regard him.

“We continually look at ways to improve and innovate and our 2018 coaching panel led by John Longmire provides us an opportunity to do so.”

The changes follow last week’s announcement of the departure of assistant coach Henry Playfair.

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