Eagles sweat on Kerr fitness for AFL final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles sweat on Kerr fitness for AFL final

By Justin Chadwick 05/09/2011 05:22:27 PM Comments (0)

West Coast midfielder Daniel Kerr must prove he can still perform his full bag of tricks if he is to be selected for Saturday's AFL qualifying final against Collingwood at the MCG.

Kerr, who has missed the past two games with a lingering back injury, hit the training track on Monday and appeared comfortable in a series of high-paced run-throughs and short kicking drills.

Eagles coach John Worsfold confirmed he would take a punt on playing Kerr if the only concern was whether he had the fitness to run out a match.

But if Kerr is unable to bend, twist, duck and weave freely by the end of the week, Worsfold might be forced to overlook the 28-year-old.

"Sometimes they say (they are only 90 per cent fit) and it means they're just going to tire a little bit earlier in the game than they normally would. We can cope with that," Worsfold said on Monday.

"(But) if it means that he can't actually get that last bit to take his ground balls clean, then that would affect him a lot more severely.

"He's got to be able to run, kick, tackle and pull up well (in order for me to select him)."

The Eagles have won seven of the eight games Kerr has missed this season; a stat that leaves Worsfold confident his charges will be able to perform against Collingwood irrespective of Kerr's fate.

"The guys have stepped up and carried on whether Daniel's been in the side or not," Worsfold said.

"If he's raring to go, then he's likely to come in and he'll be a boost for us. If he's not, we're really confident with the guys we've got there."

Defender Will Schofield is a chance to make his return after missing a week with a fractured cheekbone, while midfielder Matt Rosa (knee) is likely to resume in the WAFL reserves after four weeks on the sidelines.

Ten Eagles players who were part of last week's 95-point win over Adelaide are yet to play in an AFL final.

But Eagles skipper Darren Glass was adamant the club's young guns would be able to thrive despite the extra heat and pressure associated with finals football.

"It'll be a step up for sure but, this year, we've played in some big games already - Carlton over there, Collingwood at the 'G," Glass said.

"It will be a significant step up but five or 10 minutes into the game, things will settle down and the players will find out that it's just another game.

"Often when you're out there ... often you're just playing on instinct. Most players are so focused on the ball and the game that the crowd becomes somewhat of a non-factor."

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse is yet to decide whether to recall defenders Heath Shaw, Nick Maxwell and Leon Davis in the same week, adding further intrigue to Thursday's naming of the two sides.

The Magpies beat West Coast by 52 points at the MCG in round 10, but Worsfold said his team learned valuable lessons from that match.

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