Keunen s focus returns
Chris Keunen gets his hand on the ball first in the Foxtel Cup semifinal last week. Picture: Ben Crabtree/WA News

State and premiership ruckman Chris Keunen doesn't need to be reminded of the importance of West Perth's game against Swan Districts at HBF Arena tomorrow.

The defending premiers are precariously placed, two wins out of the top four, and a loss to Swans would make their chances of qualifying for the finals that much harder.

Keunen said the Falcons faced a challenge against Swan Districts who won by seven points when the two clubs last clashed on Anzac Day at Steel Blue Oval.

"Swans knocked us off just before the finals last year and they beat us again earlier this year so they will come in with a lot of confidence," Keunen said.

"They have probably been the surprise of the competition with their position on the ladder, and some of the football they have played has been fantastic."

Keunen is on the comeback trail, forced out for two matches after a bruised retina in round 10 against East Perth at HBF Arena on June 2.

"I managed to hit the ball and Callum Sinclair got me in the eye with his finger," he said.

"There was nothing untoward about it, just in the contest.

"The worst-case scenario was it could have been a detached retina if I had done anything further or been too strenuous in terms of activity."

The 30-year-old veteran of 140 league games said a test in hospital had revealed the extent of the injury.

"I did have blurry vision for a couple of days. I struggled with the eye and it wasn't much fun," he said. "I did an eye test in hospital. I had perfect vision in the left eye, and in the right eye I couldn't read the last three lines."

Keunen returned when West Perth crushed Western Storm by 74 points in a Foxtel Cup semi- final at Patersons Stadium on June 24 and was in his team's best when the Falcons outclassed South Fremantle by 62 points at Fremantle Oval last Sunday.

"It was good to get out on the park, get a few touches and get a bit of fitness back in the legs after two weeks of not being able to do anything," he said.

"It's annoying to miss footy at any stage but I guess it's better to have it in the middle part of the season rather than the back when we could be pushing for finals.

"Probably the worst part was that I couldn't do anything at all.

"I wasn't able to train, I could only jog some real light laps because of the risk that could come with it."

Keunen said the support of former Subiaco ruckman Seva Martin in recent times had also been pleasing as he worked his way back into form after the eye injury.

"I enjoy playing by myself in that position but it is good to have other players who are coming up," he said. "I'm 31 at the end of the year and am not going to be here forever.

"It's good to see some of these young guys coming up, particularly Sev because he's worked really hard since coming across from Subi.

"He probably didn't get as many opportunities as he would have liked there and he is certainly showing at the moment that he is going to be a very good WAFL footballer."

It was good to get out on the park … get a bit of fitness back …" *Chris Keunen *

The West Australian

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