Eagle Kennedy closing in on AFL return

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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.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • Roar Rookie

      April 9th 2018 @ 3:43pm
      Mattician6x6 said | April 9th 2018 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

      Ticking along with out him but damn the moment jk is ready look out. But the upside of his injury is WC has spread the avenues to goal and hopefully we don’t become jk centric when he returns.

    • Roar Guru

      April 9th 2018 @ 3:58pm
      gameofmarks said | April 9th 2018 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

      I don’t think the WCE will drop Waterman when JK returns. His game on the weekend was excellent and he is showing us that he will fit into JKs boots seamlessly when he eventually retires.

      I would prefer to see Waterman and JD waxing CHF and the wing when JK returns, and drop Masten back to the twos, even though he seems to have found a little bit of the form he had before he was dropped to EP last year. They both have the speed and Waterman seems to have a pretty good tank as he often gets up the ground during a match.

      I think out of the four debutants this year, Venables is the likely one to suffer the chop when JK returns. Venables will be a good player but he needs to be left in the guts to learn the position instead of rotating him of the HFF. They could also look at selecting him on the wing, instead of Masten,

      • April 9th 2018 @ 5:46pm
        Lroy said | April 9th 2018 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

        I think the 4 debutantes are all punching above their weight ATM. Rioli hasnt had much ball but he has looked good when he has got it. I had Venebles as our best player against the Dogs so he would be a bit stiff to get the chop.

        Waterman has been a revelation so far, doesnt look out of his depth at all, I think even when JK comes back all those guys should stay in the side.

        Really liked LeCras efforts this year as well, I thought he had reached his ”use by” date, but he was great on Sunday, ditto the previous week and solid in week one.

        Great to see Redden and Dom Sheed getting plenty of ball as well, when those two get their hands on it we generally win… and Gaff have plenty of reasons why the Eagles should try and find some money to keep him, best game he’s had in a while I think.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 11th 2018 @ 12:21pm
      WCE said | April 11th 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

      I think JK will return against Carlton or the next home game . no need to rush the champion back when the forward line is working ok. Now with fyling Ryan out I hope big Fraser McInnes comes in as the leading FF

    • April 12th 2018 @ 12:51pm
      Wheely Bin Dan said | April 12th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

      Yes, JK might return away agains the Blues, or the 1st Derby at the new stadium would be highly suitable!!
      It sure would be a pity to see Venables dropped, it’s all about learning his craft at AFL level against good players.
      But it’s not a bad problem to have I guess?
      Masten’s been quite servicable, but AhChee will be knocking on the door soon, be curious to see what he has to offer apart from a raking handball? Vardy also on the comeback.
      Cant wait for the Derby (both in good form) and the Port game….

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