Sport AFL Kennedy kicks 11 as Eagles crush Giants

Kennedy kicks 11 as Eagles crush Giants

Josh Kennedy is all smiles after another goal.
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West Coast forward Josh Kennedy booted a career-high 11 goals, but Mark LeCras was left with a major worry in the Eagles’ 111-point AFL win over Greater Western Sydney on Sunday.

Kennedy kicked a perfect 11.0 in the 30.8 (188) to 12.5 (77) win at Patersons Stadium, with the result lifting West Coast into seventh spot on the table.

But LeCras faces a nervous wait after being reported for his high, late bump that caught Will Hoskin-Elliott flush in the face.

In a week where the bump has dominated headlines, LeCras took a major gamble when he opted to unleash a hip-and-shoulder on Hoskin-Elliott just after the Giants forward had kicked the ball.

Although Hoskin-Elliott wasn’t badly hurt by the incident, LeCras is almost certain to be under the gun given the high contact.

LeCras won’t be alone in the ‘high bump’ basket, with Docker Paul Duffield, Bulldog Liam Jones and Hawk Jarryd Roughead also set to be scrutinised.

GWS were dealt a huge blow in the opening minutes of the match when key defender Nick Haynes was subbed off with an ankle injury.

It was a setback the Giants could ill afford, especially with Kennedy in white-hot touch.

West Coast had booted a combined 30.51 during their four-match losing run.

But five straight goals from Kennedy in the opening half set the Eagles straight, with West Coast piling on 19 goals in the second half to heap further misery on the Giants.

LeCras, in his first game back since breaking his arm in round three, finished with four goals from 22 possessions.

But the day belonged to Kennedy.

Everything he touched turned to gold.

In the second quarter, Kennedy unleashed a mongrel punt from 55m that swung right and looked set to land short.

But some late swing brought it back on target, with the ball somehow making it through a host of bodies on the line to sneak through for a goal.

Kennedy’s previous best was the 10.3 he kicked against the Bulldogs in round nine, 2011.

He kicked his ninth goal against GWS midway through the final quarter, and he was mobbed by teammates after kicking his 10th from a tough angle with six minutes remaining.

Then with just two minutes left on the clock, Kennedy nailed a 40m set shot to make it 11, helping West Coast reach the 30-goal mark for the first time in their history.

When West Coast have won this season, it’s generally been by big margins.

But their victims – Bulldogs, Demons, Saints and Giants – are all expected to finish near the bottom of the table.

West Coast’s true challenge will come after next week’s bye, when they face Collingwood (MCG), North Melbourne (home), Hawthorn (Aurora Stadium) and Gold Coast (home).

GWS, missing the likes of Jeremy Cameron, Shane Mumford, Phil Davis and Adam Treloar, face Richmond after their bye.