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No Kennedy, but no Swans romp, says Rampe

Dane Rampe won't have to worry about Josh Kennedy this weekend - AFL,Injuries,Dane Rampe,Josh J Kennedy,Mark LeCras,Sydney Swans
Dane Rampe won't have to worry about Josh Kennedy this weekend

WEST Coast will be missing dual Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy for Sunday's clash with Sydney at Optus Stadium, but the Swans are still wary of the new-look Eagles forward set-up.

Kennedy, who is recovering from pre-season ankle surgery, has booted 508 goals to sit second in West Coast history behind Peter Sumich (514), and has been the focal point of their forward line for the past seven years, leading the goalkicking six times.

The 30-year-old's absence means the Eagles will rely heavily on veteran Mark LeCras and the athletic Jack Darling, Jamie Cripps and likely debutants Liam Ryan and Jake Waterman, if they are to kick a winning score against the competition's stingiest defence.

Star Swan Dane Rampe said even without their gun tall forward, West Coast couldn't be discounted, especially in Perth.  

"Kennedy is a big loss for them but in saying that, LeCras and Darling, and even (Elliott) Yeo if he goes forward, they're all pretty dynamic down there and pretty dangerous threats," he said.

"We're going to have our work cut out for us regardless, and just because there's no Kennedy, it doesn't mean we're taking them any lighter.

"The only thing that changes is the vision of blokes we're watching before the game and our preparation from a structural sense, but in terms of physically preparing or the way we want to go about it nothing changes."

The high-flying Ryan has already caught the eye of Rampe, and the 2016 All Australian said he wasn't too keen to be part of the WAFL recruit's highlight reel of extraordinary grabs.

"I generally like to play from behind anyway, so Nick Smith can be the stepladder," he said with a laugh.

"I caught a bit of his stuff from the JLT Community Series and he looks electric."

The Swans' back half should be boosted by the return of Heath Grundy, with the veteran set to play his first senior game of the year after recovering from a calf strain.

Grundy got through a NEAFL practice match against Greater Western Sydney on March 9 and hasn't experienced any setbacks since, so should have done enough for a call-up, while Jarrad McVeigh (calf) could also be picked after training strongly on Tuesday.

Aliir Aliir looks less likely to face the Eagles after he failed to train with the main group on Tuesday, with the key defender still battling a minor ankle injury sustained in Sydney's win over Brisbane in the first game of the JLT Community Series.