Kennedy kicks winner at Tigers sink Eagles

Kennedy kicks winner at Tigers sink Eagles

JOSH Kennedy has nailed a snap from the boundary line with 40 seconds remaining to lift West Coast to a pulsating four-point win over Richmond in front of 50,834 fans at Optus Stadium.

The Tigers looked set for victory after opening up a 22-point lead midway through the final quarter of Sunday’s AFL match.

But West Coast launched a frenetic fightback in the final 10 minutes of the clash, with goals to Jake Waterman, Jamie Cripps, and Oscar Allen closing the margin to two points with four minutes to go.

Both sides threw everything at the contest in the final stages of the gripping match.

With 90 seconds to go, Eagles captain Shannon Hurn had the ball on his goal-line.

In scenes reminiscent of West Coast’s 2018 grand final triumph over Collingwood, the Eagles worked forward, with Liam Ryan running onto a loose ball before drilling a low pass to Kennedy 35m out from goal.

Kennedy, who had already starred up, calmly nailed the snap from the boundary to give West Coast the lead.

Richmond star Dustin Martin had a chance to win the match with 10 seconds remaining when he unleashed a shot from 55m while on the run and under pressure.

But the kick didn’t have enough legs in it, with Hurn marking just metres from goal to secure the victory.

The 13.7 (85) to 12.9 (81) win improves West Coast record to 8-5, while the Tigers slipped to 7-6.

Kennedy finished with four goals in a standout display, while ruckman Nic Naitanui was influential with 20 disposals, 31 hitouts, five clearances and a goal.

Martin tallied 23 disposals, six clearances and two goals, while Shai Bolton (23 disposals, one goal) was crucial in setting up what looked to be a match-winning lead for the Tigers.

Naitanui was a force to be reckoned with in the opening term, tallying eight disposals, four clearances, and a spectacular snapped goal from the boundary to give his side a four-point lead.

Kennedy kicked truly with his two set shots, while at the other end Bolton missed two gettable shots – including one snap that went out on the full when a teammate was free near the goalsquare.

Tigers forward Jack Riewoldt booted two goals for the term to take his career tally to 698.

Richmond threatened to tear the game open with a four-goal burst during the second quarter, with two of the majors coming when Tigers players shook off Andrew Gaff tackles.

But the Eagles booted the final two goals of the quarter to close the gap to four points at halftime.

West Coast had to fight hard to stay in the contest in the third quarter, but all hope seemed lost in the last when Richmond skipped clear on the back of Bolton’s brilliance.

Waterman’s booming goal kick-started a run of four straight majors that saw West Coast snatch victory.

(C) AAP 2021

WEST COAST 3.0 7.1 8.3 13.7 (85)

RICHMOND 2.2 7.5 9.9 12.9 (81)

Goals: West Coast: J Kennedy 4 J Cripps 2 J Waterman 2 O Allen 2 J Jones L Ryan N Naitanui. Richmond: C Coleman-Jones 2 D Martin 2 J Riewoldt 2 K Lambert 2 J Aarts J Castagna J Graham S Bolton.

Umpires: Brett Rosebury, Leigh Haussen, Cameron Dore.

Official Crowd: 50,834 at Optus Stadium.