Eagles might make change for AFL final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles might make change for AFL final

By Roger Vaughan 09/09/2011 04:09:48 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood are set to lose key defender Ben Reid and West Coast could also make a late change for Saturday's AFL qualifying final.

Reid did not train on Friday and assistant coach Scott Watters later said the All-Australian squad member has a groin injury ahead of the MCG clash.

While Reid is a near-certain late withdrawal, Eagles assistant coach Peter Sumich also admitted on Friday that his team might make a late change if the weather worsened overnight.

But Sumich said star midfielder Daniel Kerr would play after returning from a back injury.

The Eagles had a light training run on Friday morning at the MCG as winter weather, including hail, returned to Melbourne.

Watters admitted Reid is in serious doubt after suffering the injury at training.

"Ben's probably unlikely at this stage, we'll give him every opportunity to come up, so we'll take him right up to the death knell," Watters said.

"We're hoping he'll be right.

"It's a minor tweak of the groin - it's nothing major, but it's something we have to monitor over the next day and we'll see how he goes."

Reid's injury continues a bad run of personnel changes for the Collingwood defence this season.

Captain Nick Maxwell (thumb), Leon Davis (hamstring) and Heath Shaw (suspension) will all return to the backline for Saturday's final.

But Watters is confident they have the players to cover Reid's loss, noting a goal at the start of this premiership defence was to bolster their depth of talent.

"That gives you an insurance blanket, I guess, if you do have players that are out," Watters said.

"We have a lot of faith in the depth of our club.

"Players have come in, time and time again, and done exactly what's asked of them, so this is nothing new."

Sumich said Melbourne's wintry blast would not bother West Coast, noting they had played twice in the wet over the last fortnight.

But Watters, the former Eagles midfielder, was not so sure.

"Being a West Australian, I can only talk from a personal point of view - it does take time to adjust to the shifting surface," Watters said.

"It's not like WA, where the rain sifts through the soil and it's still firm.

"So whether their young players are ready for that, that's not for me to answer.

"Our boys train here, they live here, we're comfortable with that ... we're used to these conditions."

Watters said it is also a relief for the Collingwood coaching staff that Shaw's eight-week gambling ban is now over.

"Shawy's bursting out of his skin almost on a weekly basis - to be honest, I'm just relieved he's out there playing, so we can keep him quiet for a while," he said.

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