Loyal Swan Kieren Jack is set for his 250th AFL game. Picture: Phil Hillyard.
Loyal Swan Kieren Jack is set for his 250th AFL game. Picture: Phil Hillyard.

Will this be Swans favourite son’s final year?

KIEREN Jack could be in the midst of his final AFL season, with the Sydney Swans' favourite son taking nothing for granted heading into his milestone 250th game.

The 31-year-old remains undecided on whether or not he will look to play on, but Jack indicated yesterday that the end could be nigh as he resolves to savour every moment he can in the Swans' dressing room.

Sydney coach John Longmire last night dropped gun rookie Nick Blakey and fellow debutant Justin McInerney as a desperate Sydney look to shake things up for Saturday's crunch clash against Richmond at Marvel Stadium.

The Swans will hand a debut to midfielder James Rowbottom and a return for off-season recruit Ryan Clarke.

Debate has raged all week over the merits and logic of Sydney considering trading off Lance Franklin, but Jack got on the front foot yesterday and declared big 'Buddy' was "not going anywhere" as he described the talk as "laughable."

Jack says playing 250 games in the AFL was a "wild, wild dream" when he arrived at the Swans in 2007 barely able to kick a Sherrin.

But as confident and doggedly determined as Jack is to dig in and do a job for the Swans - as he has for the past 14 seasons - the son of rugby league royalty concedes his body struggles will not make it easy for him to go on much longer, and he has refused to rule out calling time on his hugely influential career.

"I don't know. To be honest I'm not looking that far ahead," said Jack, when asked if he would play on.

A 10-year-old Kieren Jack playing for West Pennant Hills against North Hornsby in the Sydney Primary Schools grand final at the SCG.
A 10-year-old Kieren Jack playing for West Pennant Hills against North Hornsby in the Sydney Primary Schools grand final at the SCG.

"At this point I've been here for 14 years so I'm just loving my time and loving my moments here. And I'm not taking anything for granted, so we'll see what happens.

"(My body) is OK now. I've certainly got some challenges for the rest of my career now going forward, but I think there's still an ability there to perform and perform a role and make sure I manage it well.

"I've trained pretty hard the last two months. It was slow going after the knee operation which was a bit unexpected, but I feel fit and strong now.

"I've done a lot of gym work to really strengthen up my legs and hips so fingers crossed I can hold on a bit."

By his own admission, Jack was a limited footballer with limited skills when he arrived in the big time.

But few have worked as hard or devoted themselves more to the team.

Kieren Jack has etched himself into Swans folklore during a decorated career. Picture: Phil Hillyard.
Kieren Jack has etched himself into Swans folklore during a decorated career. Picture: Phil Hillyard.

Jack, the son of Balmain Tigers rugby league great Garry, will go down as one of the most influential figures in the history of the Sydney Swans.

"Yeah 250 games, I was talking to a few people and it would have been a wild, wild dream back in 2005 to get this far. It's something that's really special and has been a great journey," he said.

"Reflecting, you'd be hard pressed a coach or recruiter who would have thought I'd play more than five games back then. I was small in stature, back pocket was pretty much where I was limited. I could defend well, I could tackle, but I couldn't really kick.

"It's something I'm looking forward to (the 250th), but the other thing is it's a really important game for us too.

"It's been a great journey so far, a lot of hard work, but looking forward to hopefully getting back on the winners' list this week."