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West Coast coach Adam Simpson will take a wait-and-see approach on Josh Kennedy as the star forward attempts to prove his fitness in time for the Eagles’ AFL clash with Gold Coast.
A longer-than-expected recovery from ankle surgery meant Kennedy was reduced to a frustrated spectator for the opening three rounds.
The two-time Coleman medallist also underwent a minor knee operation on the eve of the season that further delayed his return date.
West Coast have managed to snare two wins without Kennedy but Simpson would love his star spearhead back in the fold.
“We’ll see how we go,” Simpson said.
“He’s in the training phase now so we’ll see how fit we can get him to throw him in there. He’s pretty keen, though.”
Fellow spearhead Jack Darling has stood up admirably in the absence of Kennedy.
Darling booted two final-quarter goals on Sunday as West Coast came from 15 points down to beat Geelong by 15.
“Jack’s been exceptional,” Simpson said.
“There’s a lot of pressure put on Jack over the country but I think he has taken his game to another level.”
Jake Waterman has filled the void left by Kennedy and the 19-year-old could be squeezed out once the 207-game veteran returns.
The Eagles hope the ankle injury suffered by goalsneak Liam Ryan isn’t serious.
Ryan injured his right ankle while booting his third goal with a desperate lunge in the final quarter.
The 21-year-old has booted seven goals in three games, with his amazing leap and pressure at ground level proving crucial to West Coast’s forward set-up.
Geelong are sweating on the severity of Gary Ablett’s injury after the two-time Brownlow medallist pinged his right hamstring early in the final quarter.
Ablett also battled a hamstring injury during the pre-season.
The Cats will also lose Cameron Guthrie (ankle) and Nakia Cockatoo (knee PCL) for Sunday’s clash with St Kilda.
Geelong coach Chris Scott is confident Mitch Duncan (hamstring) will return, while ruckman Rhys Stanley is also set to be recalled after being a late scratching against West Coast.
Geelong are 1-2 but Scott was pleased with his team’s fightback against the Eagles.