After waiting more than two decades, Sydney co-captain Josh Kennedy is rapt his elderly grandfather has finally been bestowed AFL legend status.
The most important figure in Hawthorn’s history, John Kennedy Snr has become the 29th legend inducted into the exclusive club.
The man known as ‘Kanga’ was an inaugural Hall of Fame member in 1996, but it took the Hawks coaching icon 24 years to receive the AFL’s highest honour.
Kennedy’s legacy extends well beyond his own career, however, spawning another two generations of Hawks in four-time premiership-winning son John Jr and grandson Josh.
Taken under the father-son rule, Josh made 13 appearances for Hawthorn before finding a home at the Swans and playing a key role in upsetting his former side in the 2012 grand final.
A potential future hall of famer in his own right as a three-time All-Australian and triple best and fairest, Josh was glad his 91-year-old grandfather was still around to celebrate the honour with his family.
Not that he was ever the emotional type.
“I know that John Snr would be tremendously proud, albeit he may not acknowledge it as much as we feel,” he told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
“He knows that I’m extremely proud and grateful for everything he’s done for us.
“He has his days where he’s struggling a little bit, but this will no doubt give him a bit of a boost and perk him up a little bit.”
Kennedy won four best-and-fairests during his 164-match playing career for the Hawks between 1950 and 1959, but it was off the field where he made his mark as one of the game’s most brilliant individuals.
Following years as a struggling club after entering the VFL in 1925, Hawthorn emerged as a genuine powerhouse under Kennedy’s tutelage.
He led Hawthorn in 299 games, guiding the club to its first three premierships, and is renowned for his famous ‘Don’t think, do’ quote.
Kennedy later went onto coach North Melbourne 113 times between 1985 and 1989.
After coaching career finished, Kennedy was an AFL Commissioner for four years from 1993.