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'It's been a rollercoaster': Original Giant reflects on reaching 100 games

Adam Kennedy will play game number 100 in his eighth AFL season - AFL,GWS Giants,Adam Kennedy
Adam Kennedy will play game number 100 in his eighth AFL season
I'd be lying if I'd said I hadn't been thinking about it ... to play 100 games is pretty special after being an original Giant
Adam Kennedy

ADAM Kennedy's journey to 100 games was never going to be an easy one, but only a fool would have bet against him becoming a centurion with Greater Western Sydney.

Kennedy was an underage star, but suffered the disappointment of being overlooked in his draft year before the Giants pre-selected him as part of their concessions in 2011.

The 26-year-old speedster started with a 28-possession, 11-mark debut in the club's first match and played 54 games in his first three seasons, but injuries and a squeeze for spots in the talented GWS line-up saw his career progression stall.

But Kennedy has been a staple in the Giants' best 22 since he returned from a knee reconstruction in round 17 last year, and had his milestone match – which comes today against Hawthorn at the MCG – circled on the calendar this season.

"I'd be lying if I'd said I hadn't been thinking about it, because it's been a bit of a rollercoaster," he said.

"But to play 100 games is pretty special after being an original Giant and playing in the first ever game, it's pretty cool."

Kennedy had 28 touches in the Giants' first AFL game, against Sydney in 2012. Picture: AFL Photos

Like most of the Giants' original squad, Kennedy's first taste of life in the AFL was a shock, and he recalls his first day at the club was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

"I had a nightmare," he said with a laugh.

"I got through about 30 per cent of training in the morning and was spewing my guts up, and pretty much packed my bags after that to go home for the day.

"Little did I know that we had weights and meetings and stuff to do in the afternoon.

"I was a rabble at the end of the day but 'Sheeds' (inaugural coach Kevin Sheedy) took the piss out of me, so the boys got a bit of a laugh.

"I was never going to chuck it in, but I quickly worked out I had a long way to go.

"I didn't understand what it took to be an AFL player, luckily the club had some patience with me."

After a couple of seasons splitting his time between senior footy and the NEAFL as he battled to win a spot under Leon Cameron, Kennedy played the first seven games of the 2017 season and looked settled in the side, before his knee buckled against St Kilda at Marvel Stadium.

A 14-month rehabilitation stint followed, which included a trip with fellow ACL victim Matt Buntine to do some gruelling specialist training in London, where he also emptied the contents of his stomach.

 

Kennedy said it was the setbacks he's faced which make today's game even more significant for him and his family.

"When you're in those dark places you're frustrated, and the emotions take over, but you understand why people say it can be a blessing in disguise and you learn a lot from those times," he said.

"It taught me to always appreciate the little things.

"I love that feeling of being with the boys before a game, and the two hours we get to play the game is the best two hours of the week.

"When you get to enjoy a win and sing the song, it makes it all the hard work worth it."

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