Dual Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy is being carefully managed but remains hopeful of lining up for round one, according to West Coast coach Adam Simpson.

Simpson confirmed today Kennedy, who had off-season shoulder surgery, had been backed off in recent weeks as they take a cautious approach with his 31-year-old body.

“We just had a bit of a de-load on JK,” Simpson said. “He went really hard pre-Christmas and in January so we built him back up to get him right for round one hopefully.

“We’ve just got to be patient with his body and understand he’s not 24 anymore so a bit of planned de-load, take a bit of weight off the legs and then build him back up.

“He’s just had an interrupted three or four years so we’ve just got to read the cues of his body so if he pulls up a bit sore, we pull him back.”

Simpson dismissed any concerns around young defender Liam Duggan.

“This is probably the time of the year where everyone who has done a fair whack of pre-season just needs a bit of a break every now and then so Duggo falls into that as well,” he said. “A few niggles pop up, you pull them back for a week and then you get them back into it. He did his match sim yesterday so he’s fine.”

Simpson also confirmed forward Jamie Cripps would miss the opening rounds and was starting his pre-season this week after toe surgery.

“Everything is tracking in the right direction, he’s pretty much starting pre-season now,” Simpson said.

“I’d say so (he’ll miss multiple rounds).”

The Eagles will play about 40 minutes of match simulation this week before an intraclub next Friday, which will include top up players from their new WAFL side.

Simpson said the suspended Andrew Gaff was likely to play both JLT Community Series Games as well as AFLX.

“We haven’t mapped it out fully yet but I’m anticipating he’ll want to play,” he said. “It’s been a long time off footy and just to get out there and play with his mates is something he’s pretty keen to do so we’ll work through that and we’ve also got to work through what’s best prep for round one.

“I get the feeling you guys are going to build it (the JLT derby) up definitely more than we are. We’ve moved on. I’m sure there is going to be some hype around it, we’ll help Andrew through dealing with those pressures. But it’s been such a long time, so I think we just want to get him out there and play some footy.”