Sport Jack in line for return as Swans face acid test against Eagles

08:10  13 june  2018
08:10  13 june  2018 Source:   smh.com.au

By the numbers: The stat which proves West Coast are a serious AFL contender in 2018

  By the numbers: The stat which proves West Coast are a serious AFL contender in 2018 <p>West Coast's defeat of St Kilda at Optus Stadium on Saturday made it ten wins in a row as they continue to take the competition by storm.</p>They're only loss came against the Swans in round one - since then they have defeated defending premiers, Richmond and the likes of Geelong, Port Adelaide and both the Giants and Hawthorn away from home.

West Coast's Elliot Yeo isn't intimidated by facing the Swans despite recent struggles against them. West Coast won the clearances (36-24) and inside 50s (63-52) in Friday night's 15-point loss, but their young forward line failed to capitalise.

Ryan hasn't played since round three against Geelong, but is in the mix to face the Swans after kicking seven majors in an electrifying start to his career. The spring-heeled goalkicker's possible return via the WAFL has been complicated by East Perth playing on Saturday, only five days before the Eagles

Return of the Jack: Kieren Jack is a chance to play this week against West Coast.© AAP Return of the Jack: Kieren Jack is a chance to play this week against West Coast. Sydney veteran Kieren Jack is in the frame to return for Friday night's blockbuster against West Coast, with the Swans adamant his hip injury is not as serious as last year when he had an extended stint on the sidelines.

Jack was rested last week but will be a likely inclusion depending on how he pulls up from the club's closed training session on Wednesday.

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The former captain played with a hip problem at the start of last season to provide experience to a Swans team in the midst of an injury crisis, but the move backfired as his form waned due to injury.

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He was given seven weeks off to strengthen the joint, and his output improved in the second half of the season.

Swans coach John Longmire said his latest issue is due to a bump he received against Carlton a fortnight ago rather than a recurrence of his woes from last year.

"It's not as bad as that. Last year it was about his strength in that area, he's been able to get on top of that since he had that period out last year," Longmire said.

"He had a corky on the same hip last week which exaggerated the problem but it's a lot stronger than what it was last year.

"He ran Monday, [and] ran well, so that's a good sign he's in a lot better shape than what he was last year."

Had Jack played last week against the lowly Saints, he would have had only a six-day break heading into the clash with the top of the ladder Eagles.

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The Minnesota Vikings picked up where they left off last week, scoring on their first drive in the NFC championship game against the Eagles in But then a pass intended for Adam Thielen was intercepted by Patrick Robinson and returned 50 yards for a touchdown and the Vikings were finished.

"It was important he was able to not play, it gives him the best possible chance to play this week," Longmire said. "He's not over the line yet, he's got to train but he's a chance to come back into the team."

Longmire's men have climbed to third after five straight wins - all against bottom-six clubs - but the Eagles present a stern test of the Swans' premiership credentials. West Coast is on a 10-game winning streak, having not lost since round one to the Swans.

"The confidence among the players has been strong," Longmire said. "If you're able to get over the line and win it confirms that style is still relevant and still stands up. It will be tested this week against the best team in the competition.

"Both teams go into this game with confidence and also knowledge on how strong the opposition is. That's what makes it such a big clash."

The Swans are weighing up whether to bring in a second ruck to support Callum Sinclair against the imposing Eagles pair of Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett.

Forgotten defender Aliir Aliir has been floated as an option if the Swans decide they need a bigger back-up than the undersized Gary Rohan.

"You get a dominant ruckman, you win the clearances, you get ground position," Longmire said. "That's an important part of AFL football. You're able to then set up repeats [inside 50s] and start to really work the opposition over.

"We're aware of that. Our boys in the midfield have been going OK and they'll have to be going really well this week to match that."

Eagles table audacious bid for star free-agent .
The West Coast Eagles have begun their full court press in order to keep Andrew Gaff away from Victorian clubs, giving the star a mega contract offer.According to an AFL.com.au report, the Eagles are said to be prepared to offer Gaff a six-year deal to keep him in Western Australia.

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