West Coast midfielder Tim Kelly will miss tomorrow night’s intra-club game with a thumb injury, though the Eagles are confident he will be available for the start of the season.
Kelly, fellow onballer Elliot Yeo (osteitis pubis) and spearhead Josh Kennedy (calf) headline a growing list of players who are sidelined a month out from West Coast’s round one date with Gold Coast.
Ruckman Bailey Williams, who is firmly in the frame to back-up Nic Naitanui in the season opener, has also been slowed by a quad injury. It will hand premiership big man Nathan Vardy a chance to stake his claim to play his first senior game since round 12, 2019.
Premiership tagger Mark Hutchings is set to miss the start of the season with his knee injury, while defender Jackson Nelson (hamstring) and forwards Jake Waterman (back) and Jack Petruccelle (hamstring) are also sidelined.
Captain Luke Shuey is expected to play part of the match after overcoming a nagging calf complaint.
West Coast football operations manager Craig Vozzo said the club was confident Kelly’s injury was not serious.
“Tim pulled up sore with a thumb injury (from last Friday’s session) and we’re just getting that all checked out at the moment so as to firm up the prognosis,” Vozzo told the club website.
“There’s a bit of swelling we need to get down and it will affect his ball-handling. He’ll have a slow week and we’ll work out exactly what it is, but we’re not fearing anything that will cause a long-term issue for Tim.”
Vozzo said Kennedy, 33, was recovering slowly but remained on track for round one.
“He’s probably progressing a bit slower than we would’ve hoped for, but he’s got a good base of fitness to this point in time so we’ll take a slower approach,” he said.
“He’s one of our veterans and we want to get that right so he’s ready to go when the whips are cracking as we start playing games in a few weeks.”
Kelly’s availability for the start of the season is crucial, with the Eagles bracing to be without Yeo.
Vozzo said Yeo had been experiencing pain in the pubic area but the dual John Worsfold medallist would now attempt to ramp up his rehab work again.
“We’ve had a slower two-week period. We wound him back a bit,” he said.
“He had a running session (on Tuesday) as well and we’ll elevate his kicking and change of direction from there, but we’re confident we’re heading in the right direction.”