Josh Kennedy hadn’t been held goalless once in 24 AFL games this season and the West Coast full-forward’s first barren outing of the year came at the most inopportune time.
Under the scrutiny of Hawthorn full-back James Frawley, the Coleman medallist couldn’t add to his season tally of 80 goals as the Eagles suffered a grand final thumping at the hands of the all-conquering Hawks.
On a tough day at the office, Kennedy didn’t even manage to score a behind – just the third time that’s happened in 143 games since he crossed from Carlton at the end of the 2007 season.
“James has been a hard competitor to play on for the last eight years of my career, first when he was at Melbourne and now that he’s at Hawthorn, he’s always tough to play on,” Kennedy said.
“For him to get some success now is good to see but it’s just disappointing that we didn’t get the win.”
While Frawley played very well, Kennedy and his teammates inside the attacking arc were starved of opportunities with Hawthorn conceding just 40 inside 50s.
And it didn’t help that when scoring chances did arise they followed up last week’s preliminary final return of 10.20 with a wasteful 8.13.
“It’s obviously not good – it’s not ideal,” Kennedy said.
“In big games you need to seize opportunities and we didn’t do that, so it’s pretty bad.”
Kennedy didn’t believe that his side had been overawed by the size of the occasion or the huge MCG crowd of 98,633 fans.
After a season of so many positives, it was a harsh lesson for Adam Simpson’s men on the biggest stage but Kennedy said that lesson wouldn’t be lost on him or his teammates.
“It’s going to sit deeply with a lot of us,” he said.
“A lot of us hadn’t made a grand final, this was our first one and we’ve lost … it feels pretty (bad).
“We’ll remember this for a long, long time.”
On a brighter note for Kennedy, he revealed that he won’t need post-season surgery on the elbow injury that threatened to derail his campaign at one stage.