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Rhys Dickinson  June 11, 2018 2:45 PM

Hurn press conference 11.06.18 Eagles skipper Shannon Hurn speaks to the media about the bye week and preparations to face the Swans

Jarrod Brander and Liam Ryan are in the mix to take Jack Darling’s spot in the forward line for Friday night’s clash with Sydney, according to Shannon Hurn.

The West Coast skipper felt either of the exciting first-year Eagles would be a viable replacement for Darling, who will spend at least four weeks on the sidelines after injuring his ankle during the club’s recent 13-point victory over St Kilda.

Brander is yet to make his AFL debut while Ryan is bidding to make his first appearance in blue and gold since suffering a serious ankle injury against Geelong in round three.

Hurn reckoned Brander would be ready to play at the top level if given the opportunity this week.

“He understands the game well, I think he’s got a pretty good work rate and he takes a good mark. If you can do that in football I think you’re going to be okay,” Hurn said.

“He’s still got a lot to learn, but what he’s been doing for the majority of the WAFL (season) with East Perth has been pretty consistent.”

Commenting on whether Ryan might be AFL-ready following his long injury layoff, the captain said: “I think there’s potential for that, but that’ll be what the fitness staff (weigh up regarding) risk and reward. He’s been able to train pretty well the last two or three weeks. It probably just depends on body type and positioning. That’ll be something that is looked at. I just don’t know how that’ll go, but I’m sure he’ll be putting his hand up and wanting to play.”

Hurn said preparation for the team's first and only Friday night fixture of the year had centred on looking forward rather than looking back.

Sydney are the only team to topple the 10-1 Eagles this year, but Hurn said not much had been said about the team’s round one loss to John Longmire’s men.

“Sydney are in very good form and playing good football, especially their past four or five weeks they’ve been playing great,” Hurn said.

“We understand it’s going to be a really good challenge. When you play football you want to be able to test yourself and play well against good opposition. We look forward to that.

“We’re playing pretty good football and so are they, so I guess it should be a good game but it’s only if you have the right attitude and that’s what we’re making sure we do.”