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"This week is our next opportunity to win"

Rhys Dickinson  July 14, 2017 2:00 PM

Lock in JK, Gov going back: Simmo Adam Simpson says Josh Kennedy is definitely playing on Sudnay and All Australian defender Jeremy McGovern will play in defence
Jeremy McGovern will start in the defensive 50 on Sunday

Jeremy McGovern will start in the defensive 50 on Sunday

West Coast swingman Jeremy McGovern will start Carlton Draught Derby 46 in the defensive 50, according to Adam Simpson.

The Eagles senior coach said the 2016 All Australian back pocket will slot into his customary defensive role due to the return of spearhead Josh Kennedy.

McGovern has started forward of the centre square more often than not since Kennedy was sidelined in Round 10 to give the Eagles a tall marking option up forward.

But Simpson said that experiment would come to an end at Domain Stadium on Sunday.

“It’s good to have flexibility, and while JK has been out we had to try something with mixed success,” Simpson said at today’s derby press conference.

“I think McGovern is a traditional swingman, but at the moment he is probably more important down back if JK plays.

“We have swung him around a fair bit in the last few weeks and it has probably destabilised him a little bit.”

Simpson was all smiles as he confirmed that Kennedy would don the club’s revered blue and gold guernsey for the first time since being helped from the field during West Coast’s narrow loss to Greater Western Sydney.

Responding to a question inquiring what Kennedy might add to the Eagles’ line up, Simpson said: “He’s won the last two Colemans, so (he’ll hopefully add) scores and goals. He’s our vice captain, he’s an experienced campaigner who has played well in big games, so I think there are obvious reasons why he’s a good player. He’s hard to play on and even when he’s having poor games he’s playing on the best defender. Obviously he’s an asset to us, as a lot of our senior players are.”

Simpson was adamant his side felt no extra pressure to perform because it had slipped out of the top eight for the first time this year.

But he did suggest the squad was driven to deliver a complete, four-quarter performance at the final derby played at Subiaco Oval.

“We’re fighting for a top eight spot at the moment and this week is our next opportunity to win,” he said.

“The fact that it’s the last derby (at Subiaco Oval), we have reflected on it slightly, but it’s a big game for the state and a big game for us from a ladder point of view.”