The West

Kennedy set for return against Pies
Kennedy set for return against Pies

Josh Kennedy's teammates have backed him to need just one week in the WAFL before making a long-awaited return for their crunch game against Collingwood at Patersons Stadium in 11 days' time.

The Eagles spearhead is expected to play for East Fremantle on Sunday, his first game in close to four months.

He completed a low-key training session yesterday, changing direction with no apparent discomfort during leading and marking drills.

His fitness looms as a vital component to West Coast's top-four hopes and subsequent finals campaign.

Last year's club leading goal kicker has not played since needing ankle surgery immediately after round five.

Premiership wingman Andrew Embley has spent much of the season in rehabilitation with Kennedy.

He said Kennedy was capable of having a major impact coming off a limited fitness base.

"He was in a boot for a while, so he wasn't able to do much running," Embley said.

"But in saying that over the last five or six weeks he's really built his running program up.

"He's naturally a very fit person anyway. I've got no dramas about him being able to come in and have a really big impact for us.

"I think he's a bit of a different player. He's the kind of guy that I think you could just bring straight back into the team because he is such a key person for us up forward."

Kennedy's seven-goal haul against the Western Bulldogs in round one came despite having virtually no pre-season after battling plantar fasciitis.

West Coast's round-13 loss to Collingwood showed the difference a key forward can make in a tight contest.

Magpies spearhead Travis Cloke booted five goals to help his side sneak home by three points. At the other end of the ground, no Eagle could manage more than two majors.

Fellow forwards Quinten Lynch and Jack Darling have kicked 48 goals between them in Kennedy's absence.

Lynch said the Eagles would feel like their height advantage in attack was even greater with Kennedy back.

"I saw him just before actually and he's bouncing off the walls," Lynch said.

Darling said the past fortnight in particular as the No.1 target up forward had been tough.

He said he was looking forward to Kennedy's return and the freedom it would give him to use his speed and push up the ground more.

Midfielder Matt Rosa, who is recovering from a broken jaw, did several kicking drills yesterday but no contact work and left the track early.

He faces a fitness test to be available for Sunday's match against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

Dean Cox, Nic Naitanui and Adam Selwood were not sighted at training.

The West Australian

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