AFL Rd 18 - North Melbourne v West Coast
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Josh J. Kennedy of the Eagles is seen on the bench after he sustained an injury during the round 18 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the West Coast Eagles at Metricon Stadium on September 17, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The West Coast Eagles will be without two-time Coleman medalist Josh Kennedy for Sunday's clash against North Melbourne after the forward was placed in health and safety protocols.

According to The West Australian's Mark Duffield, there were already some questions regarding whether the 34-year-old would have travelled to Melbourne regardless.

As a veteran, Kennedy's match involvement this season will most likely be monitored game-by-game as the Eagles introduce younger players through the 22.

However, Adam Simpson's side is set to be bolstered with five potential inclusions to the 22 that fell to Gold Coast by 27 points on Sunday night.

According to SEN's Sam Edmund, Jack Darling, Tim Kelly, Liam Ryan and Alex Witherden all appear set to massively improve the depleted Eagles, with star midfielder Luke Shuey making his case for selection this week.

Darling returns to the Eagles' forward line after having his AFL future clouded following his failure to meet the AFL's vaccination mandate in February.

Yet, in March, the 29-year-old received the vaccination and returned to training with the Eagles before a foot injury paused his Round 1 preparations. The four-time leading goalkicker will give the Eagles some added experience to their forward line.

Kelly and Ryan return from health and safety protocols, while Witherden is available for selection after serving his one-match suspension from the Eagles AAMI Community Series match against Fremantle.

Luke Shuey will also be eager to be selected for the 22 after dealing with a hamstring injury suffered in the preseason, strengthening the Eagles midfield that has been worn thin following cases of COVID and injuries.

The star-studded line-up of returns will give Eagles fans some much-needed positivity going into this Sunday's clash against the Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium, as both teams target their first win of the season.