The reality of retirement is slowly sinking in for West Coast great Josh Kennedy as he prepares for his 293rd and final game against Adelaide at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
But the Eagles’ loss will herald a special gain for one lucky reader of The West Australian, who will claim the goal-kicking guru’s final playing guernsey when the battle with the Crows is done.
As part of the celebration of his outstanding career, that reader will win his match jumper featuring his familiar No.17 on the back.
Kennedy told The West Australian on Wednesday he was relieved at having announced his retirement and now being able to set his focus one last time on producing the type of performance that has turned him from knockabout Northampton kid, to all-time great of the game.
“I’ve sat with it for a long time, but with the build-up to announcing it officially and talking to the players and the footy department, there is a bit of relief, I suppose. . . Even though most of the crew here internally probably already knew this was going to be the last week,” the 34-year-old said.
Kennedy, who will also pass his initial West Coast captain Darren Glass’ club tally of 270 games on Sunday (he also played 22 matches for Carlton), said the reaction to his pending retirement had been overwhelming.
“The phone has been a bit crazy,” he said.
“But I wake up early, just before five and before my kids wake up at about 6-6.30. I had an hour-and-a-half to get back to everyone, so apologies to anyone who had a phone ping off at about 5.30.”
West Coast’s all-time leading goal-kicker, with 704 from his 15 years with the Eagles, has not always been at his most productive against Adelaide.
He has kicked just 35 goals in 20 matches against the Crows, almost half of his personal high tally of 61 against the Western Bulldogs in the same number of speech.
West Australian Newspapers Editor-In-Chief Anthony De Ceglie said the jumper was a unique prize which money could not buy.
“JK is one of the all-time greats of WA footy,” De Ceglie said. “But in addition to being an extremely talented goal-kicker, he is also a genuinely great guy who embodies the WA approach to life.”
He said the jumper would take pride of place in any West Coast fan’s pool room or on the bedroom wall.
“Our thanks go to JK and the Eagles for making this prize available to our readers to honor a wonderful champion,” he said.
To enter the bid to win Kennedy’s match-worn guernsey, simply look for the unique code on the front page of Friday’s The West Australian and enter it online at thewest.com.au/jk by noon on Monday.
Don’t miss your chance to win.