West Coast coach Adam Simpson has defended the decision to send Luke Shuey back onto the field during the final quarter of tonight’s win over Essendon, saying his captain already knew he would miss the remainder of the home and away season.
Shuey injured his right hamstring during the third quarter but returned to the game in the final term, made a crucial intercept but was back on the bench moments later.
Simpson said Shuey came back on because he wanted to help the Eagles to win the game.
“Regardless it was going to be a couple of weeks. At three quarter time he started on the bench. He didn’t do any more damage,” Simpson said.
“The way they sometimes react to hamstring is ‘I can go at 80 per cent.’ That was enough for us. It got pretty tight there and he wasn’t going to play for a couple of weeks anyway.
“He’s the first year as captain and he wants to do the right thing by the club. He represents us really well and he’s the heart and soul.”
Shuey injured the same hamstring in round five against Sydney and missed 22 days.
West Coast will play the Western Bulldogs on Sunday, St Kilda the following Thursday, then finish the season against North Melbourne the following weekend.
The Eagles are already without Elliot Yeo (osteitis pubis) and Jamie Cripps (personal) for an extended period but Josh Kennedy will return from concussion. Jake Waterman and Jack Petruccelle could also be available this week.
West Coast won 9.6 (60) to 6.9 (45) after Essendon fought back from 34 points down to give them a huge fright.
It was the Eagles’ third game in 10 days and Simpson said the compressed fixture will remain a challenge.
“We looked tired but Essendon looked tired too and they had a soldier down too (Andrew McGrath),” he said.
“It’s a battle of the fittest at the moment. We’ve got a game in five days against the Doggies. We’ll back up and have a swing at them.
“We’ve got a routine in place with our recovery. Try to get your mind in front of your body is a bit of a theme with the boys.”