A BAG of goals could be just around the corner for West Coast spearhead Josh Kennedy.
FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game
But then again, it might not be. And that's OK, too.
Because entering the twilight of his brilliant career, it's beyond time we started winding back expectations of the dual Coleman medallist.
Josh Kennedy has been the focal point of West Coast's attack for over a decade. Picture: AFL Photos
Kennedy has set such impeccably high standards this decade that it must be jarring to hear the doubts being directed his way.
To borrow a recent line from Ross Lyon, only three weeks ago Kennedy was being lauded for his 68th consecutive game kicking at least one major.
However, after managing a solitary behind in the past two outings – either side of the Western Derby rout he missed through illness – his playing future beyond 2019 is being questioned.
Not since rounds 21-23 in 2013 had Kennedy failed to boot a goal in consecutive appearances, and Eagles coach Adam Simpson is a touch miffed at how quickly critics have found voice.
Admittedly, there are valid reasons to wonder whether Kennedy can see out his contract next season.
The battle-scarred veteran is a beast of a man who turns 32 next month and has put his body through the ringer across 14 campaigns.
These days, he rarely trains early in the week, unless he's in rehab and loping around the boundary line like a thoroughbred in track work.
No doubt leg injuries add up, and Kennedy has dealt with more than his fair share.
It was a worry when he broke down with foot soreness (while rehabbing from shoulder surgery) over summer, especially given his history with ankle and calf complaints, and not to mention the two hairline fractures below his right knee last year.
Lately, the bearded Eagle has looked to be labouring, although he insists his body is feeling the best it has in the past couple of years.
Going goalless wouldn't bother the vice-captain, who delights in others hitting the scoreboard as much as anyone, but he conceded he needs to execute his changing role better.
That means getting to more contests and creating crumbs for West Coast's fleet of speedy small forwards to get to work.
Where the attack once revolved, unhealthily, around Kennedy, it is now stacked with dangerous options.
When Darling and Kennedy are on song, West Coast rarely loses. Picture: AFL Photos
Jack Darling stepped out of Kennedy's shadow last season before going down with an ankle injury, and currently sits fourth in the Coleman Medal race with 39 majors.
Darling polarises opinions, but the re-signed 27-year-old is on pace for a personal best goal tally (previously 53 in 2012) and has kicked a dozen in the past three weeks during Kennedy's dry spell.
Kennedy remains the spiritual leader of West Coast's attack, but Darling has been 'the man' and will be heavily relied upon come September.
If Kennedy attracts the best key defender, or at least makes opposition coaches think twice, that helps, especially in the finals furnace.
Hitting the scoreboard still matters, and Kennedy has 30 goals from 14 games – placing him 10th on the Coleman leaderboard.
Last year, he nailed 43 from as many matches, and there is no denying the ageing triple All Australian's output is waning in an era when scoring is becoming tougher and the goalkicking load is spread wider.
His disposals, marks and time on ground are also declining, as the table below reveals.
But Kennedy offers much more than the stat sheet can show and can still deliver when it counts – as anyone who watched his third-quarter burst against St Kilda in round eight at Marvel Stadium would attest.
On an otherwise quiet night, he booted two goals in as many minutes – including one after a jaw-dropping, one-grab pack mark over three opponents – that gave West Coast just enough breathing space.
Without his five crucial goals in both finals against Collingwood last year, the Eagles don't win the flag.
Who is to say Kennedy doesn't have game-defining moments on the big stage left in him?
Second-year tall Oscar Allen's rapid development shows the future attack is in safe hands, while Jake Waterman, Jarrod Brander and Bailey Williams makes for a handy quartet to build around.
However, the Eagles would do well to heed the lessons from Melbourne's woes after letting Jesse Hogan walk and placing too much faith in exciting youngster Sam Weideman too early.
Maybe, if West Coast wins back-to-back flags, Kennedy will think there is no better way to go out and hang up the boots.
But champion power forwards are a rare breed and, if his mind is willing and body able, even eking out even 15 games from Kennedy next season would be worth it.
Josh Kennedy's key numbers 2016-19
Marks in 50
Time on ground