Kennedy fingers crossed for round one

02 March 2018 06:23:13 EST

Josh Kennedy insists he won't be too bothered if he misses the opening round of the AFL season for West Coast.

The spearhead is recovering from an operation to remove some bone from his ankle.

Eagles fans would love to see the dual Coleman Medallist in their side for the historic first game at Optus Stadium on 25th March, but Kennedy says getting his body right for the full season is more important.

If I pull up well from today, then Saturday will be a bigger session and so on.

Josh Kennedy

His ankle caused him discomfort last year and he had surgery in an effort to fix the problem before the start of the new campaign.

Kennedy is still optimistic about playing in round one against the Swans but admits his ability to increase training loads over the next three weeks would decide his availability.

"If I pull up well from today, then Saturday will be a bigger session and so on," he added. "Over the next two or three weeks we will have a bit of a gauge on that, but if we need an extra two or three weeks we are going to take it.

"Playing the whole year is more important than playing the first game. Hopefully it will be the early rounds."

The Eagles hope small forward Willie Rioli will be able to play in Sunday's scratch match against Fremantle.

Rioli has swelling on his knee from a kick sustained in AFLX a fortnight ago, but trained solidly on Thursday with his left knee strapped.

Assistant coach Daniel Pratt said the club were hoping to get him on the field alongside small forward Liam Ryan.

"There is a no-risk policy with guys like that at this time of the year," he added. "It would be great to have them both in the forward line together."

West Coast are 9/2 to win the Grand Final.

The Eagles are 11/5 to win their first game of the season against Sydney, who are 19/50.

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