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Simpson still pondering starting 22

Rhys Dickinson  April 21, 2017 12:00 PM

Simpson press conference 21.04.17 West Coast Eagles senior coach Adam Simpson speaks to the media ahead of Sunday's clash with Hawthorn
Adam Simpson is waiting to see how Jack Darling pulls up after the Eagles' captain's run before deciding on West Coast's final makeup

Adam Simpson is waiting to see how Jack Darling pulls up after the Eagles' captain's run before deciding on West Coast's final makeup

West Coast will wait until the eleventh hour to select its final 22 for this Sunday’s clash with Hawthorn at the MCG.

Senior coach Adam Simpson said the match committee was yet to settle on its starting side for what he described as a "very import" round five fixture.

“I’m not fully decided on our side’s make-up at the moment,” Simpson said.

“It’s a Sunday game; there’s still a bit of time to work that out.”

Jack Darling’s health appeared to play a big part in Simpson not declaring his side on Friday morning.

The athletic tall forward missed last Thursday win over Sydney with an ankle complaint but ran freely at the club’s main training session on Thursday.

Simpson said the club would cover all bases and take at least two emergencies to Melbourne this afternoon.

“We’re pretty healthy, but we’ve still got Jack coming off that ankle,” he said.

“We want to get him through the Captain’s Run just to make sure that’s all fine, so we’ll take a couple of travellers.”

If Darling gets through the club’s final hit out ahead of the match Simpson could roll the dice and partner the exciting 24-year-old with two time Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy and versatile swingman Jeremy McGovern in the forward line.

McGovern started in the attacking arc against the Swans last week and hardly looked out of place during his two-goal performance against last year’s grand finalists.

“We will have a look at that at some stage this year, whether it’s this week or not is yet to be determined," Simpson said.

“I think all of them are pretty good at ground level. That, with two rucks as well, is a question we’ve got answer ourselves, whether we can handle that and whether the game has moved on from playing so tall. We need to assess that.”

While Simpson has much to consider from an Eagles point of view, he has no doubt what Hawthorn will bring to the contest on Sunday.

Alastair Clarkson's former understudy said the 0-4 Hawks were still a force to be reckoned with in season 2017. In short, he suggested their form was temporary but their class was permanent.

“I’m looking at the Hawthorn side, and looking at their forward line in particular, they are all still potentially in the peak of their careers,” he said.

“There is a combination of over 20 premierships in that side in that forward line and five of them are All Australian and they are all under 30.

“It’s not a matter of it going past them, it’s when are they going to get back to their good form. We’ll plan for them at their best and we’ll have a go.

“We’ve analysed and planned as best we can for them at their best. We definitely don’t plan for them to be at their worst. I’m sure they are doing the same with us.”