More Eagles to miss Melbourne match - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

More Eagles to miss Melbourne match

By Justin Chadwick 13/08/2008 05:16:24 PM Comments (0)

West Coast's injury crisis has plunged to even greater depths with forwards Ashley Hansen and David Wirrpanda almost certain to miss Saturday's AFL clash with Melbourne through injury.

Eagles coach John Worsfold said Hansen (ankle) and Wirrpanda (corked buttocks) were unlikely to feature against the Demons at the MCG, bringing to 14 the number of Eagles unavailable for selection this weekend due to injury.

That leaves just 27 fit bodies for Worsfold to choose from this weekend, although that number was effectively brought down to 25 when Worsfold said midfielder Sam Butler and forward Chad Jones were unlikely to be considered as they recover from injury.

The Eagles will be boosted by the return of midfielder Brad Ebert from a groin injury but Worsfold admitted he may be forced to blood another debutant this week in order to cover for the loss of Hansen and Wirrpanda.

Tagger James Thomson, 20, and 194cm forward Tony Notte, 18, are the only players on West Coast's senior list yet to make their AFL debut.

Seven Eagles have already made their AFL debut this year and Worsfold said Notte, taken with pick No. 20 in last year's national draft, was the next in line.

"If Hansen is out then we've got, as in tall forwards to replace him, probably only Tony Notte available," Worsfold said.

"I think he's good enough to play AFL.

"He's like all teenagers, over the next two or three years he'll physically develop to get closer to achieving his full potential, but he's probably good enough now.

"He's quick and he's got clean hands. They are two good strengths to have."

But Worsfold said Thomson, a roughie at pick No.80 in the 2006 national draft, was also very close to an AFL debut.

"Thommo dropped his form for a couple of weeks about a month ago but he's really fought back well and I've been pleased with the way he's done that," Worsfold said.

The Eagles, who have just four wins to their name, will avoid the wooden spoon with a win against Melbourne but a victory will also rob West Coast of a priority draft pick in November's national draft.

Only teams that win four or fewer games in a season are entitled to a priority pick but Worsfold said the upside of winning far outweighed the rewards a club received at draft time for losing.

"Wherever we finish I'm very confident I can develop this club back up to being a powerful club within a fairly short period of time and one draft pick in one season is not going to make any difference to that," Worsfold said.

"(Winning games is) much more important because the squad we have sitting on the sidelines this week is well and truly going to cover any draft pick we get this year."

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