Luke Shuey is almost certain to return from a hamstring injury to bolster West Coast’s on-ball division in Saturday night’s clash with struggling St Kilda at Optus Stadium.
Coach Adam Simpson on Sunday night flagged the possibility of making several changes to an Eagles side that registered a ninth consecutive win in a 15-point triumph over Hawthorn.
However, he was guarded on which players he said were “sore” approaching the half-way point of the season.
Footy fans survey: have your say for the chance to win a trip for two to the 2018 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Take the ultimate footy survey.
Best-and-fairest winner Elliot Yeo (knee) and much-improved wingman Chris Masten (hamstring) were among the players icing trouble spots in the change room after yesterday’s game.
Nic Naitanui had plenty of work done on his lower back during the match, but Simpson denied the star ruckman was playing under duress.
Dom Sheed (head) and Brad Sheppard (hand) sustained cuts, but were bandaged up and played out the match.
Simpson said vice-captain Shuey was a “pretty strong” chance to play against St Kilda after hurting his hamstring in the win over Port Adelaide on May 5.
He has been sidelined for the past three matches.
Simpson was wary of Shuey missing a large chunk of football, with the Eagles facing the mid-season bye after tackling St Kilda.
“If he’s available, we’ll play him,” Simpson said.
“That’s how we’ll look at it. He’s a pretty important player for us.
“Missing another week and then the bye, it then becomes a five or six-week absence from the game.
“Then you’ve got other issues. If he’s available, we’ll play him.”
West Coast youngsters Jarrod Brander and Matthew Allen have both been in good form for the Royals and are reasonable chances to make their AFL debuts in the near future after being named as emergencies against Hawthorn.
Simpson could consider a home game against St Kilda – who sit third from bottom with just one win and a draw – the perfect opportunity to promote more youth.
West Coast have had six debutants already this season.
“There’s a few guys at East Perth that are playing pretty consistent footy and we’re not scared of playing our kids,” Simpson said.
“In the long run it will pay us back.
“You see certain elements when you do see the kids at East Perth and think that will work at AFL level.
“A lot of our younger players have got it and I can see it. it’s opportunity and that’s probably the next phase, making sure they hold up their end of the bargain.”