MATTHEW Kreuzer and David Cuningham face fitness tests ahead of this weekend’s clash with the reigning premier. 

The duo missed the action on the weekend, with Kreuzer unavailable due to soreness while Cuningham continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury. 

With Kreuzer enjoying a high-quality season in Navy Blue, Russell said the veteran would be given every chance to prove his fitness before Sunday’s game against West Coast.

The ruckman has averaged 13 disposals and 30 hitouts to go with a career-high average of over five clearances in 2019.

“‘Kreuz’ has had some hip soreness that we’ve been managing over the last couple of weeks,” Russell said.

“It tipped over the edge and he wasn’t good enough to play last week. 

“It’s settling down well, but he’ll be a test to play on Thursday: we’ll see if he’s back to full function and if he’s ready for AFL gameplay.”

The news is similar for Cuningham, who continues to build his training loads having been out of action since the bye. 

While the Club thought the exciting youngster would be close to a return last weekend, Russell said it was crucial the 22-year-old was right to perform when returning to the senior line-up.

“‘Cunners’’ knee has been frustrating for us and frustrating for him. We think we’re almost there, we’re very, very close,” he said.

“He’s going to be tested on Thursday and it’s looking like he’s a strong chance to play, if he ticks everything off on Thursday.”

In unfortunate news for Blues supporters, young forward Patrick Kerr has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. 

Currently the Northern Blues’ leading goalkicker, Kerr’s 2019 is over after undergoing shoulder surgery.

“Patrick Kerr had a labral tear a few weeks ago in the VFL game and unfortunately it has needed surgery, which he had done today,” he said.

“That will mean his season is over.”