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West Coast Eagles regain Josh Kennedy, recall Jake Waterman and Mark Hutchings for AFL clash with St Kilda

West Coast will look to take advantage of an inexperienced St Kilda defence after loading up on tall forwards for their clash at Optus Stadium on Saturday.

The Eagles have regained star spearhead Josh Kennedy, who missed Sunday’s win over Adelaide with a calf issue, while Jake Waterman has been recalled after starring in the WAFL against Subiaco on Saturday.

This means the Eagles will play four talls in attack, with Kennedy and Waterman to join Jack Darling and Oscar Allen, with the latter likely to be also utilised in the ruck.

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As revealed earlier this week, captain Luke Shuey will miss a fortnight with a calf problem, while speedy forward Jack Petruccelle and impressive first-year midfielder Luke Edwards are also out with injuries.

Forward-ruck Bailey Williams and medical substitute Jackson Nelson has been dropped.

WAFL - East Perth vs West Coast Eagles at Leederville Oval. Pictured -  West Coast's Mark Hutchings
Picture: Daniel Wilkins
Camera IconMark Hutchings will play his first game of 2021 this weekend.
Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

Waterman is recalled for his 12th game this season and first since the round 15 loss to the Western Bulldogs after a best-on-ground display for the Eagles WAFL side when he became the first player to record more than 30 disposals, more than nine marks and kick four goals in a game since Champion Data began taking record of the competition.

The 23-year-old had 30 disposals, 14 marks and kicked four goals in the tight loss to the Lions.

Premiership tagger Mark Hutchings will also play his first game since round 16 last season after being named in the team.

Hutchings has been dominant in the WAFL since returning from a knee and soft tissue injury which ruined the start of his year, with the midfielder averaging 26 disposals from seven games.

The 30-year-old was a travelling emergency last weekend but starred in round 14 when he kicked three goals from 30 disposals against Swan Districts.

Young midfielder Xavier O’Neill has also been rewarded for his consistency by being recalled for his seventh game of the season.

O’Neill has averaged 25 disposals in his past two WAFL games, but just 11 in the AFL this season, with his last game coming when he was the unused medical substitute in the round 13 win over Richmond.

St Kilda have resisted the urge to name experienced defender James Frawley, but have recalled Nick Coffield for the clash.

Coffield is joined by Paul Hunter and young key defender Oscar Clavarino, while rising ruckman Rowan Marshall has been named as an out because he’s in quarantine, while Daniel McKenzie is out with a concussion, Tom Highmore is also injured and Jack Bytel has been omitted.

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