WEST Coast forward Josh Kennedy has crashed through the 600-goal barrier with seven majors in the Eagles’ 49-point AFL win over North Melbourne.
Kennedy booted five first-half goals to help inspire his team to the 18.13 (121) to 10.12 (72) win on Saturday in front of 54,376 fans at Optus Stadium.
The 31-year-old had been on the receiving end of retirement calls in recent weeks after a rare form slump.
But the two-time Coleman medallist showed he still had plenty more to give, with his strong marking and accurate goalkicking proving crucial in the victory.
Kennedy started the day on 594 career goals, and he received a standing ovation when he nailed his 600th major early in the third quarter by bouncing off two opponents and snapping truly.
North Melbourne had no answers to the 237-game veteran, with the absence of key defender Scott Thompson (ruptured testicle) proving costly.
Robbie Tarrant and Sam Durdin couldn’t contain Kennedy, who finished with 7.0 and five contested marks in a best afield display.
West Coast (13-5) jump over Brisbane into second spot, with the Eagles 0.3 percentage points above the Lions.
North Melbourne’s slim finals hopes are over, but rumours are rife caretaker coach Rhyce Shaw has won the race for the full-time job.
Shaw, who has led the Kangaroos to four wins from eight games, is reportedly set to sign a two-year deal, with an option for a third.
North Melbourne suffered a late injury blow when Shaun Atley appeared to dislocate his right knee in a clash of legs with Jack Darling in the final term.
The opening quarter belonged to Kennedy as the veteran spearhead booted three goals.
Kennedy’s first came from a tight angle in the pocket, he kicked his second courtesy of a strong mark, and he made it a triple late in the quarter with a 52m bomb.
His first-quarter tally was more than he had kicked from his previous three games combined.
Willie Rioli produced the highlight of the quarter when he sold the dummy to two defenders and slipped between them before snapping truly.
A blowout loomed as the margin swelled to 27 points midway through the second quarter, but the Kangaroos fought back to reduce the margin to 18 points at halftime.
Goals to Kennedy and Darling to open the third quarter closed the door on North Melbourne, with Kennedy taking a strong mark later in the term to nail his seventh.
© AAP 2019
WEST COAST 6.5 8.10 14.10 18.13 (121)
NORTH MELBOURNE 3.1 6.4 7.6 10.12 (72)
Goals: West Coast: J Kennedy 7 J Darling 2 J Waterman 2 W Rioli 2 E Yeo J Petruccelle L Ryan O Allen T Hickey. North Melbourne: C Zurhaar 3 B Brown 2 M Wood 2 J Polec N Larkey T Thomas.
Best: West Coast: J Kennedy E Yeo L Jetta A Gaff W Schofield W Rioli B Sheppard. North Melbourne: J Polec P Ahern T Dumont C Zurhaar B Cunnington T Goldstein.
Umpires: Jeff Dalgleish, Nicholas Foot, Nathan Williamson.
Official Crowd: 54,376 at Optus Stadium.