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Friday, August 24, 2018

Jack Darling in the clear for West Coast Eagles’ crunch clash with Brisbane

Jack Darling has been cleared to take on Brisbane, but the Eagles will miss the speed of Lewis Jetta in Sunday’s crunch clash.
Darling was named by West Coast after ticking all the boxes this week in the wake of his concussion against Melbourne.
But the Eagles will be forced to make at least one change after Jetta was ruled out after pulling up sore with a minor calf complaint.
Will Schofield, Oscar Allen, Jackson Nelson, Jake Waterman and Matthew Allen are in the extended squad, which will be trimmed by four tomorrow.
The Lions will be without Rising Star contender Alex Witherden, who went down with a hamstring complaint in last week’s win over Gold Coast. Cedric Cox, Oscar McInerney, Sam Mayes, Connor Ballenden and Corey Lyons are in the mix.
West Coast coach Adam Simpson admits they are still experimenting with ways to boost their scoring without Josh Kennedy, but expects the dual Coleman medallist to play in their first final in a fortnight.
The Eagles will head to Brisbane to take on the Lions at the Gabba in search of a win to lock up second spot without Kennedy (shin), who has not played since round 18.
Before the teams were announced, Simpson indicated Darling would be cleared to line up on Sunday.
“He (Darling) trained today so I’m not sure if he’s done his cog state test yet but he trained and he looked pretty symptom free,” Simpson said. “I think he’ll play but we’ve just got to tick the final box.
“There are one or two players who may not come up from last week, which I won’t go into but there are also some things we might want to try in terms of a different look as well so we’re still experimenting with that. Especially with Josh not being available this week and we think he’ll be right for the first game of the finals so how we manage the team without him and how we can get a good enough score has been a challenge when he’s not in the side.
“Most important this week is a win. So we’re not trying too many things. If we try anything it will be out of necessity, not flirting with our form. We understand what Brisbane can present, especially at home and what we need to do to get a win. It’s really important that we go full bore this week. We want to second spot and it’s up to us. It’s ours if we want it, if we can get a win.”
Simpson said they needed to weigh up their mix down back alongside fellow talls Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass as they consider Schofield’s return from a hamstring injury.
Simpson admitted Scott Lycett and Nathan Vardy had a big job to do against Stefan Martin.
He said they needed to address their slow starts from recent weeks.
“It’s been the last four or five weeks,” Simpson said. “It’s probably not the first quarter, it’s the first 10 minutes in particular we’ve been jumped. For whatever reason it’s taken us a while to get into it. And Brisbane start well so that’s a great challenge for us. To get that on our terms is going to be difficult, but we’re aware of it.”