Josh Kennedy has announced his retirement and will play one more game in his AFL career.
The 34-year-old veteran was widely tipped to retire following the conclusion of the 2022 season but West Coast confirmed on Tuesday morning he would step back after Round 21.
A magnificent career and an even better bloke.
Josh Kennedy will hang up his boots after Sunday.
— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) August 1, 2022
He’ll retire after 17 seasons in the AFL, including 15 with West Cost after beginning his career at Carlton.
“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 in a club statement.
“There are so many people to thank for helping me on the journey over 17 years. Obviously my wife Lauren and daughters Sage and Lottie, my family who always supported me, coaches John Worsfold and Adam Simpson, club staff and of course my teammates.
“Footy and the West Coast Eagles have given me so much and I’ve loved the journey. I’ve made lifelong friendships and learned so much from champions like Dean Cox, Darren Glass, Luke Shuey, Shannon Hurn and Mark LeCras.
“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.
“My knee is a big reason for retiring. I think my drive to play is still there, but I’m realistic my body is not going to be able to take me to another season.
“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.”
He’s kicked 29 goals in 2022 and retires with 715 majors to his name as a dual Coleman Medalist.
His 80 goals in the 2016 home and away season (82 total) remains the most in a season since 2009.
Current teammate Andrew Gaff paid tribute to Kennedy’s career on SEN WA Breakfast.
“A few of us were talking the other day where he stands in terms of the club, and he’s got to be right up there,” he said just prior to the announcement.
“I think what I admire about him the most is his ability to get himself up every week… I’ve never seen someone limp around and struggle so much every week but then find a way to not only get up, but kick lots of goals against good tall backs.
“He takes such pride in his performance and he’s been a massive reason we’ve been such a successful team for the last ten years.
“People reflect on how high he compares to come of the greats… he’s right up there.
“He’s been such an important leader for me and a good role model for the younger boys coming through.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the effort and the toll it’s taken on his body, which is pretty evident now.”
Kennedy rejected an assistant role with Fremantle to sign a one-year contract extension at the end of 2021 and has played 292 games across his career.
West Coast plays Adelaide at Optus Stadium on Sunday in his final game.
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