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Distracted Eagles ready to tackle Crows

West Coast will be aiming to put a week of distractions behind them when they take on Adelaide at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

The Eagles have been dealing with the fallout of Willie Rioli’s latest drug incident all week, with the opinion of the player group set to play a role in the goalsneak’s fate.

Rioli’s AFL career well and truly hangs in the balance, with a decision on his future expected to be made by next week.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson has been doing his best to protect the player group from the controversy and feels the team has dealt well with the distraction.

“They’re pretty good at the moment,” Simpson said.

“We haven’t been with Willie for a long time. It’s business as usual really.

“Obviously there’s a bit going on at the moment, and we need to have conversations with the players.

“But it is in season, it is a distraction that we don’t need, but it’s distant. It hasn’t been in our face for a while.”

West Coast (5-3) moved up to seventh on the ladder following last week’s 38-point win over Hawthorn.

The Eagles are set to be boosted by the return of star defenders Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass against Adelaide, but spearhead Josh Kennedy is likely to miss the match with a minor calf strain.

Kennedy’s absence will be offset by the presence of Oscar Allen.

The 22-year-old has been used in defence in recent weeks, but the return of McGovern and Barrass will free him up to return to attack.

Allen, who booted five goals against Collingwood in round five, will form a three-pronged attack featuring Jack Darling and Jake Waterman.

Adelaide will be without spearhead Taylor Walker, who has been rested from the trip to Perth.

Walker booted 17 goals from the opening three rounds this year.

But his form has steadily tapered off since then, mirroring the fortunes of Adelaide, who have lost their past four matches.

“They’re a younger side. Their best is pretty good, and they’ve had patches where they’ve lost momentum,” Simpson said of the Crows.

“We’re not too dissimilar to that ourselves.”

The easing of restrictions in WA means a capacity crowd can attend Sunday’s match.

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