FOR­WARD THINK­ING

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Sport - with Josh Kennedy

PLAY­ING in the Top End was al­ways go­ing to be a unique ex­pe­ri­ence and the game against Mel­bourne is one that none of the West Coast play­ers will ever for­get.

We woke to the news on the day be­fore the game that our for­mer as­sis­tant coach Phil Walsh had been killed. That was dif­fi­cult for us to get our heads around, par­tic­u­larly given the cir­cum­stances.

Once the AFL made the de­ci­sion that our game would go ahead, it was a mat­ter of pre­par­ing for the game as nor­mal.

Phil was at our club for five years and was cen­tral in de­vel­op­ing our game plan at the time, which re­volved around the for­ward press. As an as­sis­tant, he had a role in shap­ing the ca­reer of all play­ers he came into con­tact with in some way.

At the time of his death, he was se­nior coach at the Ade­laide Crows. We play them this week at Su­bi­aco Oval, so that will be a lit­tle dif­fer­ent too.

It will be the first time the Crows have played since his death, given the de­ci­sion to can­cel their game against Gee­long.

Ev­ery in­di­vid­ual deals with sit­u­a­tions like this in their own way, but it was good to get out and play in Dar­win on Satur­day.

Given it was the first time we had played for premier­ship points in the Top End, it was al­ways go­ing to be a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. Deal­ing with the heat in early July was a unique but en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ter­ri­to­ri­ans re­ally love their footy and there were a lot of de­voted West Coast fans there. It might have been a Mel­bourne home game, but it felt like we had the ad­van­tage in the bal­ance of crowd sup­port.

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