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Adam Simpson's got some thinking to do ahead of tomorrow's flight to Sydney

Adam Simpson's got some thinking to do ahead of tomorrow's flight to Sydney

West Coast coach Adam Simpson is still weighing up who will replace star forward Jack Darling, but high-flyer Liam Ryan is an option to return from his long-term ankle injury in Friday night's blockbuster against Sydney. 

Darling will be out for the next month recovering from a hairline fracture and ankle ligament damage suffered before the bye against St Kilda.

Simpson is considering a range of replacements to cover for the Eagles' leading goalkicker, including Ryan.

The Subiaco product drilled seven goals in an electrifying start to his career in the opening three rounds and could come straight back into the side despite a lengthy lay-off.

"We've got to think about it. Fortunately, we had an opportunity to have match practice over the weekend with having a bye," Simpson told Channel Seven.

"So what normally would require 80 minutes of work at East Perth, he ticked that box on the weekend.

"He went alright as well. We've got to work through that.

"He's a different player to Jack Darling but he's a permanent forward who knows how to kick goals, so we'll look at it.

"There's a couple of options, without anything obvious.

"We might have to do a few things a bit differently."

Rangy youngster Jarrod Brander is a chance to become West Coast's seventh debutant this year if the Eagles opt for another big man for the SCG clash, while talls Nathan Vardy and Fraser McInnes, plus speedster Jack Petruccelle, are also available. 

Simpson confirmed damaging midfielder Luke Shuey would finally be back after missing four games before the bye due to a hamstring strain, while Chris Masten is also ready to return from his hamstring issue.

Results went the League-leading Eagles' way over their bye weekend and Simpson's men have a golden opportunity to tighten their grip on a top-two spot if they can extend their winning streak to 11 games – one shy of the club record.

West Coast would move two games clear of the third-placed Swans with a rare victory in unfamiliar surroundings at the SCG – where the Eagles haven't won since 1999 and have only played once in the past eight years.  

"It's a big game. They're obviously in very good form. Over the weekend, against St Kilda, they started really strongly and it's going to be a massive test for us," Simpson said.

"But we're looking forward to it. It's another chance to get on the road and get together and hopefully we can get away with a win."