AFL: 58,000 fans at win over Richmond an amazing experience, says Josh Kennedy

Josh Kennedy congratulates Jack Darling after kicking a goal. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images
Josh Kennedy congratulates Jack Darling after kicking a goal. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

ONE of the most exciting things going into this season was getting ready to play at the new stadium.

We were all looking forward to the chance of finally playing at Optus Stadium after seeing it spring out of the ground over the previous few years.

Every time we drove to the airport for an away trip we would notice a few changes and then finally it was ready to play at the venue.

It has been a great experience and then on Sunday we played in front of the biggest crowd ever for a sporting event in WA. That was something special.

And when we needed a lift the roar around the ground against Richmond was just amazing.

To have nearly 58,000 fans – most of them Eagles supporters – was amazing. And the noise that they generated when the game was on the line was a big lift to us all.

It was always going to be a big challenge against the Tigers and we were really excited by the chance to play them.

Richmond are the benchmark of the competition as the reigning premiers and they have built a strong reputation in the past two seasons for their pressure, ball movement, skill and class.

As we saw in the second quarter, when they changed the momentum of the game with their power and midfield run, they are one of the teams to beat this year.

Fortunately we responded, with the team lifting across the board.

A few individuals really stepped up, none more so than Jack Darling, who has had an amazing season. He was pretty good in the first half, but was probably even better in the second half. It has been great to be so close to him and seeing him clunking the marks like he has.

Of course there are a lot of other players doing their bit for the team and that has been the secret to our eight-game winning streak. It’s about guys playing their role and we are committed to a game plan that is getting the results for us.

At this level there is no respite and we now face Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium next Sunday. That’s going to be another big game and we will need to take our A game to Melbourne to get over the top of them.

We’re really looking forward to it and hopefully we keep this momentum going.

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