West Coast skipper Luke Shuey has revealed his tongue-in-cheek response to Josh Kennedy being “three years” late after the superstar confided in him about his retirement plans.
The Eagles spearhead officially announced that the clash with Adelaide on Sunday would be his last hurrah on Tuesday, but he informed his club captain two weeks ago.
“He told me probably two, three weeks ago that Adelaide was probably going to be his last game. I told him he was about three years overdue,” Shuey joked on TripleM.
“He said a few weeks ago that this was probably going to be his final game and he’d look to be honest; he’s been struggling to actually get up for games all year; he’s done an amazing job.”
Sunday will be Kennedy’s 293rd match in the AFL across 17 seasons, beginning at Carlton in 2006.
Since joining West Coast as part of the Chris Judd trade at the end of 2007, the now 34-year-old has been the focal point in attack, and it has taken a toll on his body.
“Unfortunately, his body was absolutely shot; watching him play, it’s no surprise,” Shuey said.
“It’s a sad day for the footy club, emotional for not just the club but for the individuals involved and people who know Josh.
“Some of my best memories on field are with Josh.
“You need people like JK to be successful, and we’ve been lucky enough to have him.”
Kennedy also confirmed his decision was largely based on his body and troublesome knees.
“Mentally, the drive is still there to keep playing; physically the body has probably just told me to stop,” he said at his official announcement.
“I’ve loved this game for so long. There’s probably a little bit in the tank in terms of head space, but body-wise it’s probably sitting on the empty bit where the fuel gauge is flashing red with 0km, but you’re still driving a bit and got about 30km left.”
Shuey said the playing group would look to make Sunday’s game a celebration for the departing champion and hoped a capacity crowd could get to Optus Stadium to create one last memory for the future club legend.
“He’s someone you can’t replace; there’s going to be a big hole left there, but he’s left a great legacy, and it would be nice to finish off the week as a celebration for him,” he said.
Bounce down against the Crows is scheduled for 2.10pm.