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Star Eagle grounded for three


West Coast have received a huge boost with the news star forward Josh Kennedy has avoided a major injury and will miss just three weeks with a calf strain.

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The two-time Coleman medallist heard a pop when he suffered the injury during the Eagles’ loss to Greater Western Sydney at Domain Stadium, and initially feared he had torn his Achilles tendon.

Both player and club were bracing for bad news yesterday until results of scans showed the injury to be a relatively minor one.

“He’s hurt his calf, so he’ll be out for a few weeks,” coach Adam Simpson told Channel Seven.

“He’ll be back after the bye, but it’s probably just your standard calf (injury).

“When you look at the vision and the way he went down and what he heard, we all feared for the worst.

“But it’s probably a bit of a relief he’s done a soleus (muscle), so it’s good news so to speak, but we’ll miss him for a few weeks.”

West Coast play Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium this week and then have their bye round, which means Kennedy could miss just two games.

Kennedy has topped the AFL’s goalkicking charts over the past two years, and was on track to snare a third straight Coleman medal before his latest injury.

The Eagles’ midfield has struggled to create enough opportunities for the club’s forward line this season, and Kennedy’s absence will make it even tougher for them to kick winning scores.

Simpson will consider switching All-Australian defender Jeremy McGovern into attack in order to fill the void left by Kennedy.

Former Kangaroo Drew Petrie, back-up ruckman Fraser McInnes, former Cat Nathan Vardy, and 193cm forward Tom Lamb are other options up Simpson’s sleeve.

“I think this footy club has gone past relying on one or two players,” veteran midfielder Sam Mitchell said when asked about the loss of Kennedy.

“We’ve got plenty of things we can go to this week.

“We’ll probably have to run through a few of those scenarios this week behind closed doors and figure out what’s the best way to beat the Suns.”

Mitchell said Kennedy’s injury could even have some unexpected benefits for the Eagles.

“It makes us a little bit less predictable,” Mitchell said.

“When you scout against the West Coast Eagles, you probably know a fair few of our forward entries are going to JK.”

Simpson is confident both Luke Shuey (calf) and Mark LeCras (hip) will return for Saturday’s clash with Gold Coast.

Two losses on the trot has seen West Coast (6-4) drop to sixth spot, and they can’t afford to slip up against the lowly Suns.

Meanwhile, Simpson wouldn’t be drawn on rumours the club are attempting to lure Norm Smith medallist Jason Johanissen, Gold Coast forward Brandon Matera, and Adelaide’s Mitch McGovern to the Eagles.

“That would be handy. Is that all happening?” Simpson quipped.

“That’s scuttlebutt. I’ve got no connection to those reports.

“We have list management meetings every month or two, and I”m part of those discussions.

“But to say all that publicly is not something we normally do, so I’m assuming it’s coming from other sources.”


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