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Kennedy bites Blues as Eagles get off the mark

Highlights: West Coast v Carlton The Eagles and Blues clash in round two
Josh Kennedy of the West Coast Eagles celebrates his tenth goal during the 2015 AFL Round 02 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Carlton Blues at Domain Stadium, Perth on April 10, 2015. (Photo: Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Josh Kennedy ran riot against his old side as West Coast downed Carlton in Perth

A JOSH Kennedy masterclass has seen West Coast open its 2015 account in emphatic style, the spearhead kicking 10 goals as the Eagles steamrolled Carlton by 69 points at Domain Stadium on Friday night.

Kennedy was a one-man wrecking crew against his former side, booting six goals in the third quarter alone and cracking double-figures for the third time in his career in the 20.11 (131) to 9.8 (62) victory, with Carlton managing just a single goal across the middle two quarters of the match.

WATCH: Game breaker - Kennedy torments his former club

Carlton’s loss was the first for Mick Malthouse as coach against his former side in nine meetings since 2007.

The Blues have now won just three of their past 15 games dating back to round 11 last season.

Five talking points: West Coast v Carlton 

The win kick-starts the Eagles' year ahead of the round three Western Derby with Fremantle, while Carlton slumped to 0-2 for the third consecutive season to place more pressure on Malthouse and his struggling team ahead of a meeting with Essendon next week.

"They were very good and they've got the capability of being very good, and full credit to them on a six-day break - they were fantastic," Malthouse said post-match

"We were very bad outside of the first quarter."

Malthouse said his club can't give up on playing finals despite the poor start.

"Our goal is always to make the finals and until it's totally impractical by way of win-loss, you never give up on it, you can't give up on it," Malthouse said.

"You can't give up on it because you can't give up on your supporters, and I don't want the players to ever give up on it."

Kennedy took nine marks and kicked 10.1 thanks to an endless supply from a dominant West Coast midfield. Ruck duo Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett dominated the hit-outs 59-27. Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis collected 31 disposals and 10 clearances, while Luke Shuey gathered 24 touches and kicked two goals.

The Eagles finished with 18 more clearances than the Blues, while Mark LeCras added four goals, three in the final term.  

Eagles coach Adam Simpson was pleased with the way his side won on Friday night.  

"I thought we did it in a different way to perhaps last year," Simpson said. 

"It felt like we won the contest and the clearance battle, the time in forward half. It wasn’t just a pretty game. I thought there were stages there when we fought it out.

"That's pleasing and it's heading towards what we want to be known for, but we're not consistent yet. That's what we're looking to do. Try and front up every week and play like that and hopefully results go our way."    

The Blues had few winners after dominating the opening term. Bryce Gibbs gathered 26 touches, while an erratic Levi Casboult kicked 2.3.

Chris Judd dominated the opening term with 12 touches and helped the Blues kick six goals for the quarter for a 12-point lead, but they managed just three goals for the rest of the match.

Judd gathered just seven more possessions after the Eagles made the key move of the match by sending Matt Rosa to tag Judd after quarter-time.

The Blues also suffered an injury concern, with Simon White subbed out during the opening term with a knee issue. Carlton also lost youngster Patrick Cripps prior to the game with back stiffness, David Ellard taking his place.

It was an electric, free-flowing opening term, Naitanui kicking a stunning goal on the run from 55m just 17 seconds into the match.

 

But the Blues hit back with two quick goals as Judd turned back the clock with a vintage display.

The 2006 Eagles premiership captain collected 12 touches, had two inside 50s, two score assists and laid four tackles for the quarter against his old club, but Carlton’s 12-point quarter-time lead was quickly a memory when it failed to score in the second term.

With Judd blanketed by Rosa, the tide turned dramatically. The Eagles won 15 clearances to five with Naitanui and Lycett dominating the ruck and Priddis taking control.

They locked the football in their front half but couldn't convert on the scoreboard, kicking 3.7 for the quarter with Andrew Gaff, Chris Masten and Shuey all missing set shots.

Chris Yarran's influence was also quelled during the second term after dominating the first. He had 17 kicks for the half, including five kick-ins, and hit targets with 16 of them. But the 17th resulted in a goal when Rosa knocked a short kick in away from the intended target in Zac Tuohy that Kennedy swooped on to snap back over Yarran's head. The Eagles took a two-point lead, and never looked back.

 

The third term was the Kennedy show. He kicked six goals for the quarter. Between the 12-minute mark of the second term and the 19-minute mark of the third, Kennedy kicked six goals straight whilst the rest of the players in the match combined for nine behinds.

Simpson said Kennedy’s big night out was just reward for a grueling pre-season where the Eagles’ vice-captain added some size to his 196cm frame.

"He looks stronger for longer now in games,” Simpson said.

“I think in the past, later in the games the strength sort of (dropped off).

"He didn't come off today, and in the last minute he was trying to chase down small defenders.

"I'm not surprised, I'm happy he's kicked 10. But I don't expect him to kick 10 every week."

Chris Judd cut a disconsolate figure after Carlton's second straight loss to start 2015. Picture: AFL Media

WEST COAST  4.1  7.8  14.10  20.11 (131)
CARLTON        6.1  6.1   7.6      9.8 (62)

GOALS
West Coast: Kennedy 10, LeCras 4, Shuey 2, Cripps 2, Lycett, Naitanui,
Carlton: Casboult 2, Everitt, Tuohy, Murphy, Henderson, Bell, Ellard, Jones 

BEST 
West Coast: Kennedy, Priddis, Shuey, Rosa, Gaff, LeCras, Masten
Carlton: Gibbs, Everitt, Tuohy, Murphy, Casboult 

INJURIES 
West Coast: Tunbridge (left calf)
Carlton: Cripps (back) replaced in selected side, White (left knee) 

SUBSTITUTES
West Coast: Liam Duggan replaced Simon Tunbridge during the third quarter
Carlton: Clem Smith replaced Simon White during the first quarter 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Donlon, Farmer, Hosking

Official crowd: 34,588 at Domain Stadium

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs