Spe­cial marks hit in first game at Op­tus

Joondalup Times - - WAFL - with Josh Kennedy

IT was great to run on to Op­tus Sta­dium on Satur­day night for my first game at the new home of foot­ball.

Not just be­cause it was so good to be back on a per­sonal level, but be­cause I could be there for the im­por­tant mile­stones of two of my best mates.

It was also good to ex­pe­ri­ence the won­der­ful at­mos­phere cre­ated by Ea­gles fans at the new sta­dium.

Ob­vi­ously I had seen it from the stands for a cou­ple of the ear­lier games, but it was at an­other level be­ing out there.

Be­ing a part of the 200-game mile­stone of Mark LeCras and the 150th for Nic Nai­tanui was re­ally pleas­ing.

Whether you’re play­ing foot­ball in the coun­try or the AFL, you play be­cause you en­joy it and gen­er­ally it’s about play­ing with your mates. We’re a tight unit at West Coast and I’m pretty close to both Lecca and Nic.

We have played a lot of foot­ball to­gether over the years and it’s pretty spe­cial to be a part of some­thing so sig­nif­i­cant.

Lecca and I have played in the same vicin­ity for a lot of those games and it has been great fun.

Off-field he’s a bit of a prankster and can be a lit­tle an­noy­ing, but ev­ery club needs blokes like that who break up the busi­ness of the game and you can have a laugh. We joked dur­ing the week that even in his 200th game he was go­ing to be up­staged by Nic.

There is no big­ger iden­tity in the game than Nic and with him qual­i­fy­ing for 150 games he was al­ways go­ing to get plenty of at­ten­tion.

He earns life mem­ber­ship of the club as a re­sult and it also gave us the chance for a bit of locker room ban­ter and we were al­ways go­ing to make the most of it.

Se­ri­ously though, both have been great play­ers for our club and it has been fan­tas­tic to play so much footy with them.

Lecca has been dy­na­mite around the goals and he and I work pretty well to­gether, while Nic’s pres­ence in the team has been piv­otal in our 3-1 start to the year.

Hope­fully we can con­tinue to build on this solid start and push to­wards a spot in the top eight.

Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages

Josh Kennedy with 200-gamer Mark LeCras.

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