St Kilda coach Alan Richardson has declared West Coast star Josh Kennedy the best key forward in the AFL as his battling team prepares to play the Eagles at Etihad Stadium tomorrow.

Kennedy made a successful return from a fractured cheekbone last Saturday, kicking seven goals as acting captain in the narrow win over Gold Coast.

It followed his 11-goal haul in the round-eight smashing of Greater Western Sydney. The 26-year-old has booted 32 goals for the season to be very much in Coleman Medal contention.

Richardson said Kennedy loomed as an enormous threat for the Saints, who had to give Luke Delaney as much support as possible at full-back.

"He's probably the best going around in terms of the key forwards at the minute - particularly coming out of the goal square," Richardson said.

"Our focus will be about pressure on the ball.

"Delaney has been pretty good for us for significant parts of the season, so he'll be the man that'll get the job there.

"Their height forward of the ball is a threat to any team. If we can get pressure on that kick going in and bring the ball to ground, we are a chance to make that an advantage for us.

"That will be our challenge."

Richardson reacted strongly to the team's 96-point loss to Geelong last Sunday, dropping midfielder Clint Jones, defender Josh Bruce and youngster Josh Saunders. Luke Dunstan (shoulder) couldn't be considered.

James Gwilt, Terry Milera, Shane Savage and Darren Minchington were recalled.

"We really let ourselves down. We let our fans down. It's a performance we want to do something about," Richardson said.

"Even if we have young, inexperienced teams, there's no excuse for the way that we played … so what this week presents is an opportunity to do something about it."

WA forward Tom Lee has kept his spot despite being substituted out of the hiding from the Cats in the second term after managing just two disposals.

Lee is yet to kick a goal from his two matches this season, but Richardson said he was a key part of the club's planning.

"Tom didn't quite get it done for us in the first half," he said.

"But he's a really important player for us.

"He has come back from two shoulder reconstructions."

The West Australian

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