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Eagles lose McGovern for Swans AFL clash

All-Australian defender Jeremy McGovern has become the latest West Coast player to enter the AFL’s health and safety protocols as coach Adam Simpson made seven changes to his team.

McGovern, Nic Naitanui (knee), and Luke Edwards (groin) have all been ruled out of Friday night’s clash with Sydney at Optus Stadium, while Jake Waterman, Brady Hough, Xavier O’Neill, and Connor West were all axed.

Star midfield trio Elliot Yeo (calf), Tim Kelly (hamstring), and Luke Shuey (protocols) return in a massive triple boost, with premiership goalsneak Jamie Cripps (pec) also back in the side.

Ruckman Bailey Williams, defender Harry Edwards, and last week’s sub Josh Rotham also earned spots in the 22.

Naitanui won’t return until the second half of the season after injuring a medial ligament in his left knee during last week’s win over Collingwood.

His injury means Williams will shoulder the bulk of the ruck work, with support from former Docker Hugh Dixon.

McGovern has been in hot form this season, with his heroics in defence helping West Coast restrict the damage when they were without a host of stars over the first three rounds.

Then last week, McGovern produced yet another herculean display to guide West Coast to a shock 13-point victory over Collingwood.

“He’s in career-best form Gov, and that’s on and off the field,” Simpson said of the four-time All-Australian.

“His ability to stand up from a leadership point of view – I think he’s gone to another level.

“Sometimes being a good leader, it’s hard to play well at the same time. I think he’s grown so much in that role. He’s a big out.”

Yeo injured his calf during West Coast’s first pre-season hit-out, but he made a successful return in a WAFL practice match last week.

“We’ll need to look at his minutes and how we transition him back into the seniors,” Simpson said.

“That won’t take one week, that will take several weeks.

“He’s in good condition – a lot different than last year (when he was recovering from osteitis pubis), but we need to keep an eye on him as well.”

Sydney (3-1) will be without veteran forward Lance Franklin (finger) and Josh Kennedy (rested).

Young key forward Logan McDonald and Ben Ronke were named as their replacements.

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