West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson is planning to come home after Sunday’s clash against the Hawks despite COVID complications in WA.
The recent outbreak saw their compatriots Fremantle, take a 30 man squad on an 11-day stint on the road, kicking off in Queensland this weekend.
With West Coast heading off to Melbourne this week, it isn’t unreasonable to assume they would be following Freo’s lead.
Additionally, the prospect of a crowdless Optus Stadium, as seen over the past fortnight, still lingers for the club.
Speaking to the media on Thursday morning, Eagles coach Adam Simpson indicated the squad flying over to take on the Hawks intends on returning west once their business is done over east. However, as the virus is unpredictable, they are ready to adapt.
“We’re anticipating coming back,” he said.
“It’s a charter flight, but things change, we’ll just adapt.
“I’m not sure if you either pack a lot more or keep it the same. I think I’ll just keep it the same, if I have to get anything, just go to big W.”
With the evolving COVID situation in New South Wales and no official communications yet from the AFL, plenty is still up in the air, but the Eagles are prepared for change.
“We haven’t been informed of anything,” Said Simpson.
“We feel a bit immune to it all now, really.
“If we get told if we have to pivot and we will. We’re just preparing for Hawthorn.”
As they plan on returning, Simpson planned to take the usual playing 23, plus an additional player as security for late injuries.
“We’re just preparing to play Hawthorn this week,” he said.
“With a medical sub, you can get caught out if you only take one traveler, because if [a] pregame injury happens you use that sub, and then you’ve got no sub during the game.
“What’s happening this year, for I’m assuming all clubs, is you’ve gotta take two. We don’t have the time to fly another one over, so we’ll take two travelers no matter what.”
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Key Defender Tom Barrass is a chance to return this week after missing the derby with a shoulder complaint. A handy inclusion, Barrass adds height and experience to the backline, allowing Oscar Allen to return to the forward line where he flourishes.
The Eagles coach said he was close and how he trains today determines his availability for the Hawks clash, but there is no pressure to bring him back.
“If he trains today and gets through, then he’ll put his hand up for selection,” said Simpson.
“I haven’t put any pressure on him, we don’t as a coaching group.
“If he’s available he plays, if not, we don’t push it.
“We’re trying to get ourselves back as best we can, so if we get him back that would be great.”
Also in question, this week is Nathan Vardy who attained a plantar fascia injury during the derby, and defenders Brad Sheppard and Liam Duggan, who all failed to complete Thursday’s training session.
Vardy’s injury could make way for emerging ruckman Bailey Williams, who has shown spirit and promise in the winless WAFL Eagles side.
The next month is a big one for the Eagles as many of their wounded soldiers are due to return in the following weeks.
Jeremy McGovern, Shannon Hurn, and Liam Ryan will be match fit in a few weeks, while Elliot Yeo is finally back to full training. The fiesty midfielder will return around the bye, but it is undetermined if he will play WAFL minutes first.
Crafty forward Willie Rioli makes his long-awaited return to Perth in a few weeks and will train with his teammates again in June.
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