West Coast star Elliot Yeo’s chances of playing before the finals appear slim after the dual All-Australian failed to fly with teammates to Queensland this morning.
Yeo has not played since the Eagles’ win over Carlton, with the two-time John Worsfold medallist a late withdrawal before the clash against Hawthorn in round 12 because of a groin injury.
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The 26-year-old is battling an osteitis pubis issue which coach Adam Simpson told 7NEWS last night would keep him out for at least another two weeks.
It means he is unlikely to be available until at least the round 18 clash with North Melbourne, which could yet be played at Optus Stadium as the Eagles push to return home before the finals.
“He’s recovering really well. I think our plan was to rest him for at least one to two weeks and then rebuild in that same phase, so that’s four weeks of football,” Simpson said.
“He’s into his second or third week now, so he won’t be available this week and next week either.
“We’re sort of hoping to get a game in before the end of the season but we’ll see how he pulls up.
“It’s all been pointing in the right direction at the moment, so it’s more when he gets up and about and starts moving around if that feeling’s gone or not. That’s the next test for him.”
Yeo was one of six Eagles not making the trip, with Nathan Vardy (thigh), Daniel Venables (concussion), Ben Johnson, Francis Watson (knee) and Jamaine Jones (hamstring) also not appearing as the buses left Mineral Resources Park just before 9am.
Partners, parents and children were on hand to farewell players, coaches and officials as they head to the Gold Coast to continue the AFL season, with a clash against reigning premiers Richmond on Thursday night their first big task.
Tim Kelly, Liam Ryan, Jack Darling and Tom Hickey took their families with them for the team’s stay at their Sanctuary Cove accommodation.
Simpson was one of the first to arrive, dropped off by his daughter who was on her way to school.
In-form ruckman Nic Naitanui came in style in his GT, which was driven out by a mystery woman.
Chief executive Trevor Nisbett is also making the trip this time.
West Coast will be hoping for a better start to hub life than their previous stint earlier this year, which began with three straight losses.
They have at least four games left in Queensland, with the massive game against the Tigers followed by matches against Essendon, Western Bulldogs and St Kilda.
Eagles football general manager Craig Vozzo said the players were upbeat about the trip east.
“I just had a meeting with Adam and the senior leadership group and they’re in a really good space, looking forward to the next phase and the challenge that sits in Queensland for us,” he said.
“We are not going to have anyone putting their hand up for a rest, that’s for sure. Hopefully the decisions get harder for match committee as we re-introduce some of our players and some good players back into the squad like Mark Hutchings, Jack Redden, Elliot Yeo and Jack Petruccelle, so the pressure for spots will keep building.
“The fact that they’re going to be largely training to play, recover and play again is exciting; don’t leave too much on the track.”
A date and venue for their round 18 clash with North Melbourne, with reports West Coast are lobbying to have it played in front of nearly 30,000 fans at Optus Stadium.