West Coast is taking the positives from a fixture twist, welcoming extra time to recover ahead of a crucial contest against Sydney.
The AFL dropped a bombshell on Monday morning, swapping the club’s marquee Thursday night clash with reigning premier Richmond to a Saturday afternoon meeting against Sydney due to rising Victorian COVID-19 cases preventing the Tigers travelling to Queensland.
General Manager – Football Craig Vozzo had an inkling a change to round five was imminent after a Sunday night phone call from CEO Trevor Nisbett, and the Eagles have quickly moved focus to taking on Sydney off a seven-day break rather than Richmond off five.
“I think it’s probably a good thing in that we had a good solid recovery session yesterday because we were into a five-day break, so we accelerated what we normally do and we were able to make adjustments from this morning,” Vozzo said.
“Our ‘oppo’ guys have been preparing for Richmond, and so have our coaches, but that’s OK we’ll change course and start preparing for Sydney.
“The players get extra time to recover, rather than a day off. They’ll get extra time to recover in the move to the Saturday game, which is a good thing for a couple of them.
“To be honest, in the back of our minds, a few of us in a leadership role at the club we’d been thinking this may occur.
“From our club’s position, we’ve just got to be flexible, we’ve got to be agile, we’ve got to roll with the punches – and we’ve got to get better on-field.”
After a third-straight defeat in Queensland, the Eagles are stuck in 16th spot on the ladder and Vozzo welcomed more time to get work into the players with a full training session on Wednesday.
“Our form as a team (is disappointing), and there is many individuals that are well below where they need to be, and we’re taking steps to address that,” Vozzo said.
“We want to get as much work into our guys as possible and get better.”
West Coast is facing two more matches in Queensland before returning home to Perth and the likelihood of an extended block of matches at Optus Stadium.
Vozzo threw his support behind a hub in WA if the AFL needed to base more teams out west to keep the season moving.
“We’ve got Joondalup, we’ve got the Crown facility, there’s WAFL facilities that are being under-utilised at the moment in terms of both oval and gyms,” he said.
“There would be a level of flexibility to get football moving and I know as a community the West Australian people would love it and we’d probably move mountains to get it to work in Western Australia, for sure.”