Full steam ahead for AFL's Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Full steam ahead for AFL's Eagles

By Justin Chadwick 31/08/2011 06:05:31 PM Comments (0)

West Coast's players won't be lacking for motivation in Saturday night's dead rubber against Adelaide in Perth, with competition for spots heating up ahead of the club's first AFL finals appearance in four years.

The Eagles, who last made the finals in 2007, have been blessed on the injury front this season, with only Matt Rosa (knee), Daniel Kerr (back) and Will Schofield (fractured cheekbone) among players in their best 22 unavailable for selection.

Kerr and Schofield are expected to return for the qualifying final showdown with Collingwood in a fortnight, while Rosa could be ready the week after, leaving coach John Worsfold with a glut of options to choose from at the selection table.

Forward Jack Darling will return against the Crows, while defenders Mitch Brown, Brett Jones, Sam Butler and Brad Sheppard are the leading contenders to replace Schofield.

Although West Coast are already assured of fourth spot and 14th-placed Adelaide also have little to play for, Worsfold said his players couldn't afford to rest easy ahead of the finals.

"We've got ... a really healthy squad of probably 30, 32 that we could have in consideration to play any given week at the moment," Worsfold said of his team's enviable depth.

"We want as much depth (with) as many players in really good form as we can have.

"(I) don't really have to keep them on edge. They're motivated to play well.

"I don't have to tell Scott Selwood to fire up each week or Matt Priddis to play on edge.

"They're pretty motivated young men and they know what they have to bring to the team.

"We'll look at just how we want to play against Adelaide this week with a view of working on the things we've worked on all year.

"We're not going to add anything new. It'll be just reinforcing the stuff we've been working on all year."

Worsfold said he was confident Kerr and Schofield, who underwent surgery on Monday night to have a plate inserted into his face, would be fit to take on Collingwood.

And the premiership dream of Jones is still alive - but only just.

Jones, part of West Coast's 2006 premiership side, hasn't been able to break through for a game this season, but Worsfold said the 29-year-old could still force his way back in time for the finals.

"His form was outstanding last week for Claremont, as it has been for a number of weeks, and with Schofield going out of the team, and with finals coming up, Brett is still in contention to play this week and in the finals for us," Worsfold said.

Meanwhile, Worsfold said assistant coach Scott Burns wouldn't be distracted by the prospect of coaching Adelaide next season.

"I've got absolute faith that Scott's a pretty focused individual and he's really excited about working with this young midfield group going through a finals series," Worsfold said.

"I think he'll be absolutely able to focus on what his job is currently."

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