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Knee injury forces Eagle Kennedy to retire

3 minute read

West Coast forward Josh Kennedy says an injured knee convinced him that his body wouldn't allow him to play on in 2023.

JOSH KENNEDY.
JOSH KENNEDY. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Retiring West Coast great Josh Kennedy is asking for a farewell present: a win against Adelaide to help the Eagles avoid the wooden spoon.

Kennedy officially announced his retirement on Tuesday morning, with Sunday's match against the Crows at Optus Stadium to be his final curtain call.

The soon-to-be 35-year-old says an ongoing knee injury meant he simply couldn't play on beyond this year.

The 292-game veteran will be remembered as West Coast's greatest ever forward, having booted 704 goals for the Eagles to go with his 11 majors across 22 games for Carlton.

Kennedy snared three All-Australians, two Coleman medals, and the 2018 flag during his glittering career at West Coast.

But he has also tasted disappointment, being part of the Carlton team that finished last in 2006 and the West Coast wooden spoon outfit of 2010.

The 17th-placed Eagles (2-17) currently sit just percentage ahead of North Melbourne, and Kennedy is desperate to taste victory against Adelaide to help West Coast avoid finishing last.

"I've had two wooden spoons, and we're sitting just above the bottom," Kennedy said.

"Another win would help us not finish down that area. A win on Sunday would be nice. It would be nice not winning a third wooden spoon."

Kennedy's five-goal haul against Essendon in round 15 proved that he still has what it takes to compete at the elite level.

But an ongoing knee injury meant playing on for another season simply couldn't happen.

"My knee is a big reason for retiring," Kennedy said.

"Mentally the drive is still there to play, but my body is just telling me to stop.

"It's just a typical knee after a few surgeries. It's fine. It's just gone through a fair bit in the last 17 years.

"Body wise it's probably sitting on that empty bit where your fuel gauge sits there flashing red with zero Ks, but you still drive a bit. You've probably got 30km left."

Kennedy, who was snared by Carlton with pick No.4 in the 2005 national draft, was famously a reluctant part of the trade that saw Chris Judd move to the Blues in 2007.

Judd won the second Brownlow of his career while at Carlton, but West Coast gained an elite goalkicker who would become one of the Eagles' greatest ever players.

As part of the trade, West Coast also received the pick that secured Chris Masten, who went on to play 215 AFL games.

Kennedy played a key role in West Coast's five-point grand final win over Collingwood in 2018, tallying three goals, 11 marks, and 18 disposals.

"Josh is going to be one of the game's greats and one of the club's greats," Eagles coach Adam 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."

Once his AFL career draws to a close, Kennedy is likely to trot out for a few games in the WA Country Football League.

"(Former Geelong star) Harry Taylor made me promise him we'll play a game together in Northampton," Kennedy said.

"Then with Lecca (Mark LeCras), we've always said if he comes and plays for Northampton, I'll play a couple of games for Cervantes."

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