West Coast champion Josh Kennedy has called time on his career, with his last game this Sunday against Adelaide at Optus Stadium.
Kennedy – who was famously involved in the trade that saw Chris Judd relocate to Melbourne – has been arguably one of the best Eagles players in their short history in the AFL, leading the goal kicking for the club (704) and sitting fourth in total games (271).
The number four pick in 2005 played 22 games for Carlton before being included in the swap, which saw West Coast secure the East Fremantle product as well as pick three and 20 in the 2007 draft for Judd and pick 46.
Initially deemed a loss for the Eagles due to the departure of the 2004 Brownlow Medallist (Judd), Kennedy joined the club with Chris Masten (pick three) who played 215 games and was a part of the 2018 premiership side.
JUST IN: Two-time Coleman Medalist, 2018 premiership player, and the leading goalkicker in West Coast history Josh Kennedy, will play his final AFL game this weekend, against Adelaide. #9WWOS #AFL pic.twitter.com/T78IR0vk7f
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) August 1, 2022
Announcing his retirement on Tuesday, Kennedy thanked the opportunity he was given to live out his lifelong dream.
“It’s been a privilege to play so many years at this great football club and I’ll forever be grateful for the opportunity to represent the West Coast Eagles and Carlton,” Kennedy said.
“One of the biggest things I’ve wanted to do over my career is to have respect from my teammates – that’s always driven how I acted, trained or tried to play.
“To be able to farewell West Coast supporters one last time at Optus Stadium and say thank you for the incredible support over the years will be the perfect way to finish my career.”
Coach Adam Simpson took the chance to acknowledge what Kennedy has done for the club and the game.
“Josh is going to be one of the game’s greats and one of the club’s greats,” Simpson said.
“What he’s done in my time at the club, it’s just been a pleasure to see and watch. Coleman Medals, the ability to stand up in big games. Clutch, not just goals, but clutch moments.”
Although his retirement was imminent due to injuries, Kennedy will leave the club with some of the highest honours of our game and has provided a great springboard for the next generation to take his place.
Who will replace Josh Kennedy?
The void left by Kennedy will be hard to fill, but West Coast fans should have relative confidence that Jake Waterman and Oscar Allen can be the men to take the club forward for the next decade.
With Jack Darling still producing some of his best footy, Allen and Waterman have shown glimpses of their talent, averaging roughly a goal a game in their short careers and looking promising up forward.
Allen, 22, is the more likely of the pair but hasn’t set foot on the field in 2022 due to a nagging foot injury.
Drafted with pick 21 in 2017, the number 12 has been impressive in his 59 games, including a 28-goal season last year.
Waterman on the other hand has struggled to cement his spot in the side since debuting back in 2018.
However, in the absence of both Kennedy and Allen in 2022, the 24-year-old has made the forward line his home, kicking goals in his last seven matches, despite the Eagles’ struggles.
When is Josh Kennedy’s final home game?
Kennedy will play his last and final home game this Sunday (August 7) against the Crows in front of the Eagles faithful.
Josh Kennedy’s career highlights
- West Coast Eagles all-time leading goalkicker (currently 704 goals). Ranked 24th for most goals in VFL/AFL history
- Seven-time club leading goalkicker – 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020 – equal-most tied with Peter Sumich
- Equal fourth-most games played in West Coast history (270) behind Shannon Hurn (317), Dean Cox (290) and Glen Jakovich (276).
- Runner-up best and fairest 2016; 3rd-place in 2013
- Three-time All-Australian – 2015 (vice-captain), 2016, 2017 (vice-captain)
- Two-time Coleman medallist – 2015 and ’16
- 2018 premiership player
- Chris Mainwaring Medal as best clubman in 2015
- Three-time Glendinning-Allan medallist in an RAC Derby
- West Coast vice-captain 2014-2020