HE WAS recruited to be Patrick Cripps' much-needed sidekick in Carlton's midfield.
But having struggled to break into an improved midfield group this season, Matt Kennedy is having quite the impact as a makeshift forward in a re-energised Blues team.
Kennedy had been stuck in the VFL before returning to Carlton's side as an undersized full forward ahead of its trip to Fremantle a month ago, managing just two games all year.
But he now looks like one of David Teague's most damaging and dangerous forward threats, assuring himself of a place in the senior team for the foreseeable future.
Kennedy's impact was highlighted in Saturday's 24-point victory over Gold Coast, where he was a constant presence out of the goal square on his way to a career-high four majors.
“It was a really good sign for our boys to get away with a win and not play at their best."— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) July 20, 2019
It followed two important late goals during that win on the road against Fremantle, as well as two more from six scoring shots in a narrow defeat to Melbourne a fortnight ago.
Having kicked three goals in his Carlton career up to that point, Kennedy now has eight goals in the last month – earning the praises of his coach after the game.
"I'd like to say it was a really smartly planned move," Teague said.
"We just wanted a bit more run against Fremantle and he went forward and was really strong in the contest.
"He played centre-half forward as a junior in senior footy out in the country, but he was only about 15 or 16 (years old).
"He presents well at the ball, he's a beautiful kick and he's ended up getting quite a few shots over the last month, so he's been valuable for us."
Carlton has found success in implementing a much smaller attack since Teague took the reins as its senior coach, with Kennedy one of a number of players to move forward.
Will Setterfield, Darcy Lang and Josh Deluca were also among the goals on Saturday, with Paddy Dow, Zac Fisher, Jack Silvagni and Michael Gibbons also having a greater impact in recent weeks.
But with injured talls Charlie Curnow (knee) and Mitch McGovern (managed) both set to return before season's end, Teague reiterated he will continue to reward form.
"We'll play our best team," he said.
"Who that is … it's on form, who is getting the job done and playing their role.
"If you look at Mitch and Charlie with their mobility, their height is not an issue. They both run really well, they're mobile and they follow up on ground level.
"We just need a balanced team. Their height is not really an issue, it's more about how they play and how they go about executing their role."
As always.— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) July 20, 2019
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