• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

Josh Kennedy hopeful he will be good to play next round

May 9, 2021

WEST Coast is confident star forward Josh Kennedy has not suffered a significant calf injury after being substituted out of Sunday’s win against Hawthorn and finishing the game with ice on his right leg.
Kennedy, who battled a calf injury pre-season and recently missed one match with an ankle injury, was troubled with a calf issue from early in Sunday’s match but was able to play on.
Kennedy told Fox Footy post-match that he just felt tight and the club decided to minimise the risk of further injury in the final minutes by activating medical substitute Luke Foley. 
“It tightened up as the game went on and just got a little bit tight in that last quarter not sure if I got a corkie in the first quarter,” Kennedy said.
Coach Adam Simpson said the Eagles removed Kennedy from the game as a precaution. 
“I think he had it from around quarter-time onwards, so I don’t think it’s significant,” the coach said.
HAWKS v EAGLES Full match coverage and stats
“But we probably thought there was a risk that if he kept playing we might make it worse.”
West Coast overwhelmed Hawthorn in the second quarter on Sunday, kicking seven goals for the term to open up a 33-point lead and set up their first road win of the season.
Simpson said it was important for his team to produce a good effort after their inconsistent start to the season and poor form on the road, notching back-to-back wins for the first time in 2021.  
“I said to our players and I know we got criticised a little bit it’s not about winning away from home, it’s about playing consistent football that we think stands up in the long term,” the coach said.
“I don’t think we’ve been doing that consistently enough, in particular (when playing) away.
“So to play four quarters of the style we like, it starts with the contest like every club, but I felt like we played more of a complete four-quarter performance than we have in previous interstate trips.”
The coach praised star midfielder Tim Kelly, who backed up last week’s 42-possession game with 25 touches, eight inside 50s and a goal, with plenty of support in an injury-hit midfield. 
“Spreading the load is important (and) it’s not all about Tim, so I thought collectively the last few weeks all of our mids have stood up,” Simpson said.
“It was a younger [Hawthorn] group today, but they were still pretty fierce and they’re really highly regarded in our eyes as a midfield.”
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson was philosophical about his team’s place in the AFL pecking order after sliding to 17th on the ladder with a 2-6 record.
“(Jaeger) O’Meara out of the side is really hurting us at the moment and we’re giving some young guys some exposure through [the midfield],” the coach said.  
“Part of the second half we played (Jack) Scrimshaw in the middle of the ground just to give him some exposure to that part of the ground.
“Things weren’t working for us on the scoreboard, so it’s about how can we use this for a development opportunity?”
Club champion and triple premiership player Jack Gunston was a late withdrawal after experiencing back spasms during the warm-up, compounding the absence of key players.
But ultimately, Clarkson said, it was the Hawks’ inability to generate enough forward entries to kick a competitive score. 
“We’re last or second last for inside 50s in the competition,” the coach said.  
“To win games of footy you’ve got to work out a manner in which you can move the ball that gives you an opportunity to get it inside 50 to score.
“West Coast denied us that today.”
Clarkson said the Hawks would look to use a pick in the mid-season draft to add depth to their list, but the selection would not “be the panacea for us becoming a great side”.
“By and large we need to hang in there with this group of lads who are getting some exposure to play and we’ve just got to keep their spirits up as high as we can,” he said.