Injury-hit Eagles face fight to end hoodoo

Josh Kennedy's injury is another body blow for West Coast, who have a dismal record against Geelong.
Josh Kennedy's injury is another body blow for West Coast, who have a dismal record against Geelong.

West Coast's bid to break their hoodoo at GMHBA Stadium will be put to the test after Josh Kennedy became the latest star to join the club's growing injury list.

Kennedy will miss Saturday's AFL clash with Geelong after failing to recover from the ankle injury he suffered while being tripped by Collingwood's Mark Keane last week.

It means Jack Darling and Oscar Allen will now spearhead the attack, with help from Jake Waterman.

Darling and Allen booted five goals each in last week's win over Collingwood, while Waterman is a capable forward who has booted three goals on three separate occasions during his 41-game career.

But it's Kennedy who often attracts the opposition's best defender, and his absence will see the pressure shift on the other key forwards.

The Eagles are also missing star midfield duo Luke Shuey (hamstring) and Elliot Yeo (osteitis pubis), along with All-Australian forward Liam Ryan (shin) and former skipper Shannon Hurn (calf).

West Coast have lost their past six matches at GMHBA Stadium by a whopping average of 59.8 points.

Their last win there was in their premiership season of 2006, when the Eagles came from 54 points down early in the third quarter to snatch a famous three-point triumph.

Geelong will enter Saturday's match without Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield, who will miss a large chunk of the season after undergoing ankle surgery.

But the inclusion of star recruit Jeremy Cameron for his first game of the season is a big boost to Geelong's forward stocks.

Mark O'Connor was also named in the side after recovering from a heel injury, with Sam De Koning omitted.

Cats coach Chris Scott won't be taking West Coast lightly despite the Eagles' injury woes.

"We're clear on what their best footy looks like," Scott said.

"They've had challenges over the last couple of years and even with a few key outs there's no reason to think watching them over the last couple of weeks that they're not as potent as they've ever been.

"Their forward line obviously attracts a bit of attention. But more than that it's the way their system complements those forwards that impresses me. And they've obviously got some huge weapons in the midfield.

"The theory can be easy against them. But in practice - against (Nic) Naitanui in particular - it can be more of a challenge."

WEST COAST'S RECORD IN GEELONG SINCE 2007

Rd 7, 2007 - Lost by 39 points

Rd 22, 2008 - Lost by 99 points

Rd 22, 2010 - Lost by 44 points

Rd 4, 2014 - Lost by 75 points

Rd 7, 2016 - Lost by 44 points

Rd 6, 2019 - Lost by 58 points

Australian Associated Press