Josh Kennedy has gone down as West Coast’s greatest goal-scorer, but it is the veteran’s humility and class that has earned him praise in opposition for more than a decade.
After leading from the ground on Sunday, Kennedy showed why he is one of the game’s humble stars as his eight goals pulled West Coast to victory over Adelaide.
Kennedy returned to the Crows and then took time to shake hands with the players and staff who joined the Eagles to form a guard of honour.
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“Classic Action” features the Eagles great bowing out after 293 games and 723 goals – including a premiership, an All-Australian skipper and two Coleman medals.
And he remained humble in his final press conference.
“The boys called me fair. “There were a lot of balls that came my way that probably shouldn’t have been there,” he said.
“There were moments before a game, at half-time and at the end when you knew it was over.
“I love being a part of those games, whether you win or lose, I love being a part of those close games.”
Kennedy admitted he felt nervous and “a bit numb” about the game after leaving the field at Optus Stadium for the last time in front of more than 50,000 fans.
“It’s nice to be able to finish your last game for a while. I have never experienced it,” he said.
“You (coach Adam Simpson) might be shouting in the box but someone got a hand back to Boots (Shoe) and he went over his shoulder, JD (Darling) had a long time inside the 50 but he looked in to try a ball for me and Liam. . Ryan) finished the shot.
“I thought let’s chill guys. We have to win this game. Let’s not focus on me.”
Kennedy even got over the loss of his best friend Nana and the woman who helped him as a child in Northampton just days before their funeral.
“She brought us all up in Northampton. She loves eagles. It was special to her,” he said.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson praised Kennedy’s performance in their last game.
“Can you imagine hitting eight in your last game?” he laughed.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the four points in that last episode. But other than that, we tried our best.
Even pre-game Kennedy was humble, telling his boys he wanted to win.
“I don’t care if I don’t get hit, I just want to win and sing the song in here one more time,” he said.
In his final address as an Eagles player, Kennedy took time to thank the fans for bringing “tears to their eyes.”
“As footballers, we are there to work and sometimes we feel, the consensus is that we give a lot to the fans but they give a lot. They make our game better,” he said.
They are the reason we play football.
“And it’s not just the home ground – all the AFL fans.
“I’ve been so lucky with my foster… it brought tears to my eyes. I can’t thank them enough.