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Oscar Allen to miss West Coast Eagles’ clash with Richmond through injury

West Coast coach Adam Simpson has confirmed young gun Oscar Allen will miss tomorrow’s clash with Richmond, shutting down the prospect of a rest for Nic Naitanui and sealing Bailey Williams’ debut.

Allen has failed to recover from a hip knock against GWS amid a four-day break.

West Coast confirmed earlier today that Williams would make his debut after a string of recent matches as an emergency.

The 200cm ruckman and Dandenong product had an encouraging pre-season campaign earlier this year, but Naitanui’s All-Australian form and Allen’s rise has meant opportunities for talls have been limited.

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But Simpson said Williams had extraordinary athleticism and a higher leap than even Naitanui.

“He’s very athletic,” Simpson said.

“He’d be around 200cm as a forward/ruck. He’s probably the modern day tall. He’s really good at ground level as well and he’s got a really good leap. He’s probably got Nic covered which is a big feat.

“He doesn’t have the same ruck craft yet. He’s raw so he’s going to do some spectacular things and some things that need a bit of work. We’ll get him in and get him an opportunity.

Oscar Allen felt the pinch last week against GWS.
Camera IconOscar Allen felt the pinch last week against GWS. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

“As much as we haven’t had too much football to play at a lower level, he’s been playing at a standard that has warranted selection for a number of weeks. Oscar Allen won’t play. He’s a bit sore. His glute pulled up a little bit tight. With a four day turnaround, we thought we wouldn’t take a chance and Bailey is ready to debut for the footy club.”

While the short break will prevent Allen from playing, Simpson hoped the Eagles wouldn’t need to rest too many players during their compressed fixture. He said they would be guided by how the squad felt instead of scheduling breaks for older stars.

Premiership tagger Mark Hutchings will play his first game for the season tomorrow and replace Jackson Nelson after he injured his shoulder last week. Jack Redden will miss another game as he recovers from an adductor injury.

Simpson was in no doubt Hutchings would perform well despite his lack of match fitness.

“He’s a very solid contributor. He does everything right during the week and with his preparation, he gets the best out of himself,” he said.

“Unfortunately you can’t get that block of form or fitness at a lower level so you do take a bit of a risk with some of these guys but we know what Hutch does for us. He’s a pro.”

20-year-old Williams was taken with Pick 35 in the 2018 draft to help bolster West Coast’s ruck depth.

He averaged 15 hitouts and 10 disposals in 20 appearances at WAFL level for the Eagles reserves side last year.

Williams becomes West Coast’s fourth debutant in the space of five games, following the blooding of Harry Edwards, Nic Reid and Xavier O’Neill.

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