JAK PUT IN HOS­PI­TAL

Heavy hit leaves In­ver­leigh star with bruised kid­ney

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COURA­GEOUS spear­head Jak Kennedy-Hunt re­turned home from hos­pi­tal late yes­ter­day af­ter suf­fer­ing an in­ter­nal in­jury in In­ver­leigh’s gutwrench­ing loss to Bell Post Hill.

Kennedy-Hunt was last night nurs­ing a bruised kid­ney af­ter cop­ping a heavy hit in the fi­nal quar­ter of Satur­day’s loss at The Gor­don TAFE Oval.

“My kid­ney was bleed­ing and it stopped in the end, so I’m lucky that I avoided the split and the surgery that goes with it,” Kennedy-Hunt told the Gee­long Ad­ver­tiser last night. Hawks pres­i­dent Rick McE­wan said ear­lier yes­ter­day that Kennedy-Hunt was kept in overnight Satur­day for ob­ser­va­tion. “They are con­cerned about it (bruis­ing) turn­ing into a bleed be­cause that could be fa­tal,” McE­wan said. “He couldn’t make the vote count to­day (yes­ter­day) be­cause he’s ly­ing in a h hos­pi­tal bed. “He’s in very good spir­its bu but he’s a lucky boy ... it wa was a big im­pact.” It com­pleted a hor­ror ru run of in­juries for the H Hawks’er er, who cen­tu­ryen­tered the goal­kick­match wi with a host of con­cerns, in in­clud­ing a 5cm tear in hi his quad and a calf strain. “That was done five or six weeks ago,” In­ver- leigh coach Mark McDow­ell said of Kennedy-Hunt’s quad com­plaint.

“If you have a look at his shins ... his shins are black and blue and bruised. He played with a strained calf. He wasn’t 100 per cent, that’s the hon­est truth, but he was still a pres­ence for us up for­ward.

“We kept him deep and, in nor­mal cir­cum­stances, I would’ve been re­leas­ing him into the mid­field. He just wasn’t able to do that.”

McDow­ell ad­mit­ted it “crossed his mind” to leave Kennedy-Hunt out of the side, given his his­tory of in­juries in the past two months.

“I al­ways knew he wasn’t 100 per cent, that’s a given, but Jak be­ing 80 per cent right is bet­ter than some­one else be­ing 100 per cent,” McDow­ell said. “He gets the best de­fender, (Cam) Ad­die has to go to him, and that re­leases Dal­ton (Grun­dell) and it stretches them a lit­tle bit.

“He didn’t put in a poor per­for­mance and he didn’t put in a good per- for­mance ei­ther.” Kennedy-Hunt, a for­mer SANFL star, is un­con­tracted for next sea­son and GFL clubs are cir­cling.

But McDow­ell is hope­ful he will re­main in brown and gold.

“As far as I’m aware he’s not con­tracted to the club,” McDow­ell said.

“The club has been in dis­cus­sions with him, but I know he’s been very happy at In­ver­leigh and I couldn’t see any rea­son why he wouldn’t play there next year.”

The Hawks ex­tended an olive branch to Kennedy-Hunt fol­low­ing his is­sues out­side foot­ball, but McDow­ell stressed that the pow­er­house for­ward did not need to “re­pay the faith”.

“I don’t think Jak Kennedy-Hunt owes us any­thing,” McDow­ell said.

“At all. I think the club has been priv­i­lege to have a player of that cal­i­bre in the league. We’re priv­i­lege to have such a player and such a fan­tas­tic bloke. He owes us noth­ing. We owe him.”

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