PREMIERSHIP midfielder Elliot Yeo remains the biggest concern within West Coast’s extensive injury list heading into the finals, with the star onballer still struggling to overcome his troublesome groin issues.
The Eagles will regain Dom Sheed (hamstring) and Brendon Ah Chee (finger) for Thursday night’s clash with the Kangaroos, which they must win to keep their slim top-four hopes alive.
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However, Yeo’s status remains in doubt, with the club unsure as to whether the dual best and fairest winner and two-time All Australian will be fit for the first week of finals in a fortnight’s time.
Yeo has battled osteitis pubis throughout the year and hasn’t featured for the Eagles since a round 11 victory over the Blues more than a month ago, with coach Adam Simpson revealing there is still no timeline for his return.
“It’s a slow process for these groin injuries,” Simpson said on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, I went through that too back in my playing days. There’s no timeframe, it’s just when it starts to feel a bit better then you can advance.
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“We shut him down for a couple of weeks. Our plan was to reintroduce him into some training and some straight-line running. He hasn’t gone past that phase yet, so we won’t make a final assessment until we get back and we’ll go from there.
“We obviously won’t risk his long-term future, but at the same time if we can get him up for this finals series then we will definitely do so. We’ll make a call on that when we get back to Perth.”
West Coast must beat North Melbourne on Thursday night, then hope either Richmond or Geelong loses to Adelaide or Sydney respectively in order for the club to succeed in booking a double chance in the finals.
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Regardless, the Eagles are confident that captain Luke Shuey and four-time All Australian defender Jeremy McGovern will return from hamstring injuries ahead of the finals, while forward Jamie Cripps will be available after returning to Perth for the birth of his first child.
Mark Hutchings (hamstring), Lewis Jetta (calf) and Jack Redden (thumb) are also included on a lengthy injury list, though Yeo undoubtedly remains the club’s biggest concern on the eve of the post-season.
“Each injury is different,” Simpson said.
“Hamstrings are a different risk than osteitis. You describe playing with osteitis as, ‘you can play but you just won’t play very well’. You might be a bit sore for it.
“It’s a bit different to Jack Redden, who has a plate inserted into his thumb. He’s got full range now and can’t feel too much discomfort. He hasn’t stopped running, so he’ll advance.
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“Jeremy McGovern did a bit of walking and jogging yesterday, so he’s progressing well. Luke Shuey probably would’ve been available for next week, had there been a game. Jamie Cripps is fit, but he’s just in Perth at the moment.
“Those guys are a little bit different to Elliot, who really has to tick some boxes before he can advance his running. The other boys are your standard type of injuries and we expect them to recover pretty quickly from them.”