East Fremantle have rolled the dice at the selection table, recalling big forward Eddie Simpson for their preliminary final against Claremont at New Choice Homes Park on Sunday.
Small forward Corey Holmes is the unlucky player, dropped after 15 games this season including every game since round 10 and two goals in the qualifying final win over the Tigers.
Simpson will play just his second game for the Sharks after crossing from East Perth mid-season, with an ankle injury hampering his second half of the season.
Sharks coach Bill Monaghan said they needed bigger targets up forward against the Tigers, with Simpson to partner Jono Marsh and Reuben McGuire in attack.
“He can do some back-up ruck work which we think we need,” Monaghan said.
“We’re adding to our forward structure, it frees up (Jarrad) Jansen to play through the middle, it allows us to keep Reuben forward and give Reuben, who is a young player, a bit of support.
“It’s always a tough call to leave people out full stop and it’s probably even harder when it’s this time of year and players prepare and train hard all the time to try to get an opportunity to play finals and it’s unfortunate Corey loses his spot.
“Hopefully we’ill win and he will be in the selection mix this week.”
Claremont have regained powerful midfielder Ben Edwards after he missed the first semifinal win last weekend, with Talon Delacey omitted.
Tigers coach Ash Prescott remained coy on where forward Timm House and dual Sandover medallist Jye Bolton would start after both played key roles in defence against Peel.
“We don’t want to be dictated to by East Fremantle,” Prescott said.
“We’ve just got to make sure we play our brand of footy that we’ve been practising and preaching over the course of the season.
“We want to take a strengths-based approach, make sure we keep it really simple and try to get first hands on the footy and get it forward.
“We’ve got a lot of variety within the mix of the team, so there’s some flexibility with a lot of our players that we can go to at different stages depending on how we’re tracking.”
Prescott said defender Steven Miller would not play again this season after injuring his knee in the qualifying final.
“Steve’s tracking reasonably well, but for a young player and the long term, he’ll be put on ice,” Prescott said.
“At this stage, I wouldn’t think he’d play the following week if we get through.”