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West Coast Eagles

Simpson confident Gov is good to go

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Chris Masten of the Eagles embraces the crowd support during the West Coast Eagles open Grand Final training session at Subiaco Oval on September 24, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Approximately 15,000 people attended West Coast's open training session at Subiaco Oval today

Jeremy McGovern was the only notable absentee from West Coast's boisterous opening training session on Monday, but coach Adam Simpson is all-but certain the three-time All Australian will be fine for the Grand Final.

McGovern was the only member of the 22 that defeated Melbourne who failed to appear at Subiaco Oval, as gun midfielder Luke Shuey (ankle) shrugged off any doubt about his fitness in front of a huge crowd of at least 10,000 fans.

McGovern is set for a crucial role making life difficult in the air for Collingwood giant Mason Cox on Saturday, and Simpson backed the intercept marking star to overcome a "big corky".

"Luke was out there today, so I think he's fine. Gov's just got a hip pointer that he's got to manage throughout the week, so we're doing everything we can to get that right," Simpson said. 

"He doesn't normally go out there on a Monday anyway, so he should be good to go.

"I'd like him to train, but he doesn't train too much. 

"If he gets the captain's run he's done a good job, normally, so he's one that we manage a lot."

The Eagles are expected to go into the Grand Final unchanged after hammering the Demons by 66 points. 

Last time West Coast faced Collingwood in the qualifying final, experienced backman Will Schofield was dropped for Tom Barrass, who kept contested-marking machine Cox to just two marks and five disposals.   

But Brad Sheppard's hamstring injury opened the door for Schofield to return and his versatility will help the veteran hold his spot for a job on one of the Pies' dangerous mid-sized forwards.

"Schoey complements our back six, he can play tall or small," Simpson said.

Schofield is one of 12 Eagles set to return to the big stage on Saturday for the first time since their 2015 Grand Final loss to Hawthorn.

West Coast's performance that day still irks some players, but Simpson denied this year's clash was about redemption.

"There's obviously a bit spoken about that, but it's just so long ago, we're a different side," he said.

"I know there's some players who played in that game, that should be good experience to reflect on.

"We didn't play well and we didn't win, but the experience they went through with the build-up, the week, I think it's a positive.

"But there's no redemption. There's nothing like that."

Eagles skipper Shannon Hurn was in his first season leading the group in 2015 and believes he and his teammates have learned a lot from that experience.

"I think you do a little bit. The more you play football and the more you've been around, get to talk to more people you just understand what footy is about and how to prepare, I think," Hurn said.

"We've been able to do that. Especially over the past four years when we've been fortunate enough to be able to play finals.

"The group understands each other better, the coaches have been doing a great job, so it's hard to always judge but I do think the players understand what's required."

West Coast has refreshed its line-up this season and is likely to field nine Grand Final debutants, with many set for crucial roles.

The Eagles will hope for spark from small forwards Willie Rioli and Liam Ryan, plus combative efforts from Scott Lycett and Nathan Vardy in the ruck.

The Eagles' duo closed down Max Gawn in the preliminary final, and have another All Australian to contend with when they face Brodie Grundy in the season decider, with sidelined star Nic Naitanui coaching them through some tough match-ups recently.

"He's the most expensive ruck coach in the history of the AFL, but he's doing a really good job," Simpson said.

"We planned the last couple of weeks really well and our rucks have engaged with Nic, so he'll continue to do that."

Andrew Gaff (suspension) and Brad Sheppard (hamstring) were two of West Coast's best in 2015, but both will also be watching on – probably from the coaches box – this Saturday.

Gaff was given a huge cheer at Subiaco on Monday as he ran laps and Simpson said the suspended onballer was still invested in the club's season.

"I think they get sick of me asking (if they're OK). We've had a bit of time to get our heads around that, the same with Nic as well," Simpson said.

"They come to our leadership meetings.

"I'm sure there's some element of disappointment that they'll have that they're not out there, but we're doing the best we can to make them feel involved."