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Kennedy in awe of Mackenzie's poise

Rhys Dickinson  September 11, 2017 3:00 PM

Drew Petrie and Lewis Jetta were clutch in the big moments on Saturday night

Drew Petrie and Lewis Jetta were clutch in the big moments on Saturday night

West Coast’s unsung heroes got plenty of love behind closed doors following the Eagles’ thrilling extra-time win over Port Adelaide, according to Josh Kennedy.

While Luke Shuey obviously received plenty of plaudits for his post-siren sealer that put the Power to bed, several other Eagles got pats on the back for their stunning contribution to the team’s triumph at Adelaide Oval.

Kennedy said the squad got around defender Eric Mackenzie in the changerooms to celebrate his clutch play that kept the Eagles alive late in the fourth quarter.

With just 45 seconds remaining on the clock and scores tied at 60 points apiece, Mackenzie stopped a Darcy Byrne-Jones shot at goal, raced after the ball as it dribbled towards the scoring zone and crashed into the right behind post, forcing the Sherrin out of play.

Kennedy said it was the biggest play of the game.

“Obviously Luke kicking the winner after the game was probably the biggest talking point, but that effort (Mackenzie) had to realise the state of the game and to come back, turn the other way and not rush it through and try and make something of it…obviously it went out of bounds and not through the points … which pretty much got us into overtime,” Kennedy said.

“He’s the whole reason why our season is still alive or to even give Luke that chance at the end.

“It was a terrific effort by Ezy. He won’t sit there, mention it or talk about it, but we have.”

Another player who wielded significant influence late in the contest was Lewis Jetta.

Port Adelaide skipped to a 13-point lead in the first period of extra time and looked destined to run away with the game until Jetta got West Coast back in it with a beautifully timed clearance from a shotgun play that resulted in Kennedy’s soccered goal, which reduced the visitors’ deficit to seven points.

The speedy winger was also involved in the last play of the game; he sharked Paddy Ryder’s tap and fired the ball out to Shuey, who was ultimately taken high by Jared Polec.

“We definitely needed something like that, so for Jetts to come out and do what he did – he won at least two or three clearances in those first five minutes of overtime – that really set us up, getting it inside 50,” Kennedy said.

“Obviously you don’t have much time in overtime, so to keep the ball in you forward half is a priority and he was able to do that for us, which was great.

“That’s what we ask of every player, to be composed in those situations. You can start thinking of the clock winding down, you can start thinking about ‘We’re too far behind’. For a lot of the boys to be able to do that, it was good to see.”