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Eagle Darling eager for Kennedy return
Justin Chadwick
12:28 AEST Tue Aug 14 2012
Josh Kennedy
West Coast spearhead Josh Kennedy is set to make his WAFL return after overcoming a serious injury.

After spending the past 14 AFL games and counting as West Coast's No.1 forward, Eagles youngster Jack Darling will happily slot back into the No.2 role once Josh Kennedy returns.

Kennedy, who hasn't played since injuring his ankle in round five, is a chance to resume in the WAFL this weekend in the aim of returning to Eagles' ranks within the next three weeks.

Darling has coped admirably in the absence of Kennedy, booting 40 goals in 19 games this season compared to last year's return of 24 goals in 23 games.

Quinten Lynch (30 goals), Josh Hill (30), Dean Cox (25) and Nic Naitanui (18) have also chipped in with handy goal hauls to help keep the Eagles' top-four hopes alive.

But after being forced to contend with some of the AFL's best defenders while Kennedy has been out, Darling can't wait for his mate to slot back into the forward line.

"As soon as he's back - I know my place," Darling said.

"It would be good to get up the ground a bit more, and leave Nic Nat or Coxy or Lynchy back so I can use my speed to beat my opponent on the way back to goal. It would be handy."

Kennedy has a good record of returning to peak form straight after injury, with the former Blue booting seven goals in the round-one win over the Bulldogs despite failing to play a game during the pre-season due to a foot complaint.

The 24-year-old could be back in an Eagles jersey by as early as next week, when West Coast faces off against Collingwood at Patersons Stadium.

But for the time being, Darling will continue to play the lead role up forward, with the 20-year-old eager to hit the scoreboard in Sunday's clash with Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

Wingman Matt Rosa (jaw) is a chance to return to action against the Power, while Sam Butler (calf) and Brad Sheppard (ankle) will also be in the mix if they can prove their fitness at training.

The Eagles need to win their final three games against Port Adelaide, Collingwood (home) and Hawthorn (MCG) in order to have a chance of sneaking into the top-four.


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