West Coast’s season of injury has taken another massive hit with Tim Kelly and Oscar Allen joining the large group of stars on the sidelines following the 16-point loss to Essendon.
Kelly injured the medial ligament in his right knee during the second quarter, watched the match with his leg in a brace and will spend an extended stint out of the game.
Allen then suffered concussion after a horror fall late in the second quarter and must sit out 12 days as part of the AFL’s protocols. With Elliot Yeo only just returning from osteitis pubis, Luke Shuey, Jeremy McGovern, Liam Duggan and Alex Witherden injured and both Shannon Hurn and Liam Ryan re-building their fitness following injury, the Eagles’ depth is being seriously tested.
With Yeo only able to play for 80 minutes, Essendon ran over the top of a fatigued West Coast but coach Adam Simpson said fitness wasn’t the issue.
“We couldn’t win a contest in front of the ball. We just weren’t tough enough for long enough,” Simpson said.
“Having some players underdone doesn’t help when you’ve got two injuries. Liam Ryan and Shannon Hurn were coming back from four or five (weeks) but that’s not an excuse. I don’t think we should dwell on that too much.
“We couldn’t win a contest in front of the ball late. They played really well. They got us on the outside. Midfield depth – we probably didn’t have that in the last quarter and a bit but we’ve got to give a lot of credit to Essendon.
“The will to win was there for the most part, but not the whole part.”
Yeo had 14 disposals and five clearances in his first AFL match since August last season. Simpson described him as being rusty early in the game but felt he started finding form as the game progressed. Yeo will continue to be managed for the rest of the season.
West Coast are expected to travel to Sydney to face Carlton next week. The match was originally scheduled to be played at the MCG but Victoria’s COVID outbreak is expected to see a host of games played in New South Wales.
The Eagles have a horror record at the SCG, having not won there since 1999. Simpson said the club was still waiting for more news from the AFL.
“We haven’t been told anything,” he said.
“I’ve heard murmurs that we might be heading to Sydney. We’ve got to front up there, lick our wounds, have a look at the review, see how we can get better, see how we can manage things a little bit differently and get on with the next game.”