Kennedy Follows Own Path to 50 Games

Friday, August 10, 2018 - 8:45 AM

After a winding five year journey, Subiaco defender Hayden Kennedy last weekend played his 50th league game for the club.


A popular team man, Kennedy has overcome four shoulder reconstructions to play 50 games, with two shoulder injuries in 2017 threatening to prevent the milestone being reached.


“It was probably a tipping point in 2017 doing the shoulder twice,” Kennedy said.


“You have your moments where you think it might get the best of you, but having tasted premiership success, that drives you to be part of another premiership.”


That premiership success that Kennedy has already experienced was in his second season of WAFL league football when he was an important part of the 2015 Subiaco premiership.


Kennedy’s first season of senior football was 2014 where his season was ended early by injury with the youngster a spectator as Subiaco claimed a memorable Grand Final win, one year later, Kennedy was playing his own part of premiership glory.


“Tasting success early in my career, you just keep wanting to have that experience again I reckon,” Kennedy said.


“It is a big driver and motivator for me and the group.”


Kennedy still believes seeing how hard the 2014 Subiaco squad worked, it was the inspiration he needed to work as hard and contribute to the club.


Kennedy is having a career best season in 2018, having played 14 of 15 matches and averaging over 20 possessions per game.


The key behind Kennedy’s form lies in his preparation and recovery he believes.


“I am paying more attention to my body and playing smarter,” Kennedy said.


“I am definitely more consistent with my rehab and recovery and the body is feeling better for it.”


Kennedy’s growth has been an important part of Subiaco’s undefeated season so far in 2018 with his ability to show an attacking side giving Subiaco a dangerous option from defence.


Highlighting this new attacking flair, Kennedy has put the ball inside 50 on 45 occasions so far in 2018, having only done so 47 times in his 36 games leading up to 2018.


The other notable change to Kennedy in 2018 is being a part of the leadership group.


Kennedy is the commencement of the next generation of Subiaco leaders, joining a leadership group that includes veterans Kyal Horsley, Leigh Kitchin, Chris Phelan and Lachlan Delahunty.


For Kennedy leadership is something he had always aspired to, but was still surprised that his peers had recognised him, relatively young within an experienced group.


“It was a shock to be voted in at first,” Kennedy said.


“I think it has helped my game though, as you look at leaders like Kyal, Leigh and Jordan, you really feel like you need to step up and have an impact for the team.”


Kennedy believes he is lucky to be able to learn from great leaders, but also sees himself as part of another group of leaders coming through that will continue to drive the Subiaco culture for the next decade.


“Angus Litherland is a quality leader already and I reckon Jack Beverley and Daniel Leach have good qualities that will make them great leaders of our club in the future,” Kennedy said.


Outside of the most pressing goal of assisting Subiaco towards the 2018 Premiership, Kennedy is keen to play 100 and even 150 games at the club, body willing.


For a local product from Subiaco’s regional city of Kalgoorlie, Kennedy has fully embraced the club and culture.


That culture is also driven from the coaching group and Kennedy’s admiration for his current coach Jarrad Schofield is evident when he speaks about him.


“Schoey is the best coach I have played under,” Kennedy said.


“His ruthless in his approach and determined to see you succeed, with his attention to detail unbelievable, I personally love the way we get coached.”


Having commenced playing senior football while with Mines in the Goldfields Football League at the age of 14, Kennedy has always enjoyed the physical nature of the game and underlies who is as a player and how he wants to be recognised as a Subiaco player.


“I would love people to look back and say he was a hard and ruthless player,” Kennedy said.


50 games in, and there is no doubt Kennedy is already among the toughest players both physically and mentally to pull on the maroon and gold jumper.


It probably suggests Kennedy is going the right way to lead his own legacy at the club.