Kennedy's a shining indigenous star
By SAM DEBENHAM
THE feeling of just what she has achieved might have only hit Kandy Kennedy when her women’s Indigenous All Stars kit arrived in the mail last week, but the nerves and excitement are about to get a whole lot more real for the talented 16-year-old.
She will line up on the wing for her side when they play the curtain raiser for the annual NRL All Stars game at Suncorp Stadium on February 9, and in the process will not only get to play on the hallowed turf formerly known as Lang Park, but she will get to meet and spend time with the NRL players involved in the main event.
It is a huge step in the career of the talented all-rounder, who has also reached representative levels for athletics and soccer in her brief career so far, and has well and truly stepped out of the shadow of her dad William ‘Bubba’ Kennedy, who himself had a strong NRL career and has been arguably Group 10’s best player for more than a decade.
“It will be amazing to experience something like this,” the younger Kennedy said.
“There are a lot of girls in the side who have been playing a lot longer than I have so it might be a bit different for them, but for me it is so exciting.”
Kennedy’s blistering speed was on show at last year’s annual Aboriginal Knockout where she and the rest of the Mindaribba Sisters took out the title, and the Bathurst player’s frequent forays out of dummy-half were eye catching in the decider against the Redfern All Blacks.
“I’ve played a lot of positions but I’m on the wing for this match, speed is definitely my best asset,” she said.
“I’m already pretty nervous but there are a few players in the side that played with me in the Knockout, Eunice Grimes is one who has taken me under her wing a bit and helped me out, so it will be good having them around.
“The whole week should be a great experience, we get to go to a dinner with all the NRL players which will be fantastic.
“I’ve had a lot of help from heaps of people, the NAB bank have done a lot for me and Mark Ireland has helped me out, too.”
It is no surprise that speed is a major part of Kennedy’s game, given that she gets assistance from former Olympic 400m finalist Darren Clark along with the likes of Alyssa Dove, Rhys Haynes, Tony Brazier, Mark Ireland and Jesse Middleton.
While pride will definitely be on the line for both sides in the clash on February 9, there will be a bigger incentive on offer, with the Jillaroos Australian team to be picked from the two All Stars sides. They will tour England later this year.
In the meantime, Kandy and her dad can fight it out over who is the better player.
“I think I might have him covered – he’s starting to get fairly slow these days,” Kandy said.