The Jarrad McVeigh conundrum

Good morning all, it's a fine sunny morning here in Melbourne, and with it brings a new day of the Jarrad McVeigh - will he, won't he - saga.

It's definitely a hot topic for all Swans supporters, and Heather and I spoke about it at length off the recording on Tuesday night. As far as Sydney news goes, its getting the most sound bites and column lines at the moment. I suppose when they're winning, there's not much else for the Victorian media to talk about.

While the Swans are yet to offer him terms, the continuous dialog with the club has been positive and Jarrad McVeigh said to the media throng at training yesterday, that he's happy with where contract talks are.

"As I've said all year if my body is right and I'm playing at a high level, then I definitely want to play on," he said.

"I speak with (coach) John Longmire and (football manager) Tom Harley most weeks and I sit pretty comfortably with where everything is at.

"We're very close and we've got a lot of trust in each other, I've got a strong relationship with everyone at the club and we know where it's all at."

It's probably the best thing to do, wait until the season has completed before sitting down and contemplating the next steps. There's no question of his ability and professionalism, just whether or not his body can withstand it all.

There's also a young family that he has to consider, with another child on the way due before the end of this year. I can't fathom him picking up and moving interstate with his wife about to give birth, let alone relocating for just one season, two at most. It's the details that so many people neglect and the following quote was hardly, if at all picked up, instead focusing on his comments regarding coaching.

"I've got a young family so it's not just about next year, it's about the 10 years after that."

He knows that he's got to keep performing to ensure that he has a chance for next season, but that there's also a spot in the team for him.

"I understand it's a ruthless business and there's got to be a spot for me, and I've got to perform as well.

"If you're a player you have to be all in as a player and go 100 per cent at that," McVeigh said."

There's been reports linking Jarrad with moves across town, up north to Brisbane through Alastair Lynch's open letter, as well various Melbourne clubs; none of them are new, and most have been circulating since April, but more recently, the Giants rumour has been picking up steam.

The Giants link hinges on his desire to move into coaching, which he's already tasted with his debut last year in the pre-season, part of the club's initiative to improve on-field communication.

Although it's a terrific idea, and you can see the impact that Steve Johnson has had at the Giants, it's all a little too hard to be able to do both, since you have to commit all your energy one way or the other, and Jarrad agrees.

"I love that side of the game and teaching younger players," he said.

"I feel that my strengths are reading the game well so hopefully that translates into a coaching career.

"Those things are happening more these days but I think if you're a player you've got to be all in, and go 100 percent at that.

"It would be too hard to do two things."

Here we are nearing the end of another season, with a player 3 games shy of joining the Swans' exclusive 300-club, with club legends Adam Goodes (372), Jude Bolton (325) and Michael O’Loughlin (303), in possibly his last or at least second last year or football, on the brink of one of the most important finals series in the history of the club, and he puts the club first.

It speaks volumes for the kind of person he is, and the kind of person he wants to be. He's been a terrific leader on and off the field for the Swans, his professionalism has always shone through regardless of adversity and you can never question his desire or courage.

At times his body has let him down over the journey, and he's had to endure torrid times, on and off the field, and despite all that, he's had the full support of the club, its fans and the greater AFL community. He's been a superb member of the football fraternity and has lead the way.

He's rebounded superbly from his injuries and proven throughout this season that he's still a cut above the rest. He might not have his pace anymore - he never was quick - but it doesn't matter, his football brain is as sharp as it ever was.

I'll admit that I was critical of him earlier this season, and I'm certainly not alone in admitting that I wrote him off. I've never had a crack at his professionalism, his integrity, or him as a person, but with the injuries he endured, the length of time out, and that awful grand final performance, it was all too easy to be dismissive. I was certainly wrong and I'm more than happy to admit it.

You won't see too many in the media admit they were wrong when they wrote him off as done and finished. Even after the bye it looked improbable that he would reach 300, let alone at the start of the season when he was perma-crocked.

But here we are, on the eve of the finals series and the newspapers are falling over themselves to figure out where he'll end his career, but very few have suggested the club he's played 297 games. I guess it just isn't sensational enough to suggest it.

If there's a player you want kicking clutch goals, he's your man.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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