Will Kennedy only spent a short time with the Western Jets, but he sure made an impact.
In his only season in the blue and gold, Kennedy etched his name in the club’s record books, taking out the Barry Round Medal for best-and-fairest in an impressive 2019 NAB League campaign.
Kennedy felt like he would be around the mark when it came to the awarding of the club’s highest honour, but did not arrive at the count with confidence because of the high quality individuals on the Jets’ list.
“[Lucas] Rocci winning the Morrish Medal [the league’s best-and-fairest], I sort of thought he would take it out,” Kennedy said.
“We did have a few boys, like Archi Manton and Daly Andrews, who I thought were a chance.
“I thought I’d be in the conversation, but I was pretty surprised when I actually won it.
“It’s a big honour.
“I’ve really loved my year with the Jets.”
Kennedy was contacted by the Western Jets in the off season to consider joining the club.
The ruckman had spent the previous two seasons with Sandringham Dragons with his second year marred by inconsistent form and injuries.
Instead of signing with a VFL club and potentially spending the whole season at local football level, Kennedy saw the move to the Jets as a fantastic opportunity to remain in an elite environment and show the recruiters what he could achieve at his full potential.
“Obviously going to VFL, if I’m not getting a game, I’d have to go and play local football, and that might not have been the best for me at the time,” Kennedy said.
“I got called up by Sandringham [VFL side] at the start of the year and I thought it’s probably going to be hard to crack into that team.
“Playing in the NAB League again gave me consistent footy, which is what I wanted to do.
“I didn’t really play that consistently last year and I had a few injuries, so I knew with a good run of games, I’d be able to build some form.”
Kennedy was the anchor of a Western Jets side that featured in the finals this season.
His influence in the ruck and around the ground was profound.
He was one of the most consistent players in the team.
“I only polled the most votes out of the round once, but I sort of polled in most of the games,” Kennedy said.
“Consistency got me the medal in the end.”
Kennedy grew from the experience of playing with the Western Jets.
Having played all of his elite football with Sandringham Dragons, it was a chance to venture into unchartered waters.
“I thought this is going to help me get out of my comfort zone, get over the West Gate Bridge and meet a whole new group of people and grow myself and mature a bit,” Kennedy said.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it was a pleasant surprise and I loved it there.”
As one of the most experienced players in the squad, Kennedy was a driving force for his teammates.
“I tried to lead by example,” he said.
Kennedy got his chance to play two VFL games as the 23rd player with Frankston.
He featured in games against Box Hill Hawks and Collingwood, the AFL team he supports.
“That exposure to the bigger bodies allowed me to go back and play better because I was used to it.” He thanked his parents Bruce and Phillipa for their unwavering support over the years.