West Coast will have a seasoned campaigner and fresh face in its starting 22 when it lines up against Hawthorn at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
Senior coach Adam Simpson today declared that four-time all-Australian defender Jeremy McGovern would return following a three-week stint on the sidelines and revealed that mature-aged recruit Nic Reid would make his first outing in the Eagles’ revered wings.
Simpson said McGovern was ready to rumble after getting through this week’s block of training pain free.
The superstar backman missed the club’s wins over Collingwood, Geelong and Carlton after fracturing his right thumb at training almost four weeks ago.
“He’s declared himself available, which is great,” Simpson said.
“He’ll play this week barring any unforeseen circumstances over the next couple of days. He got through training today. It’s not one of those things where you’ll see how he pulls up because he’s not getting any assistance with it.
“He’s pain free, so he’ll play this week.”
Simpson said he was incredibly excited to see Reid get his first crack at the game’s highest level following an unconventional road to the AFL.
The 24-year-old school teacher was plucked from the amateur ranks last year to play in West Coast’s inaugural WAFL side and starred for the Eagles by booting a team-high 23 goals for the season.
Reid was sidelined for most of the summer after undergoing a post-season shoulder reconstruction, but that did not stop the Eagles from recruiting him during the Supplementary Selection Period.
“He’s come from so far back being a local boy playing at North Beach, a 24-year-old school teacher who I think was about to play his 100th game in the ‘ammos’ and then he gets a go at WAFL, gets put on our 'supps' list and now he’s playing against Hawthorn at Optus Stadium,” Simpson said.
“He’s got goal sense, he’s fit, he’s quick and he’s got a mature body. I’m really proud that he’s playing for the club.
“No one has done it harder than he has in the last five years, so all credit to him and I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”
Your 252nd West Coast Eagle!— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) August 13, 2020
Nic Reid will pull on the blue and gold this weekend against Hawthorn! pic.twitter.com/77HcoGBTgj
Simpson said his charges were preparing for an all-out battle against Hawthorn on Sunday.
He revealed the club’s coaching panel planned to extensively review the job the Hawks did on the Eagles in round 23 last year in addition to analysing their recent form in a bid to record their first win against Alastair Clarkson’s men at Optus Stadium.
“We’ve only got to look to when we played Hawthorn last and it was probably a 10 goal loss at Optus,” Simpson said.
“I think the game they played at the weekend (against Fremantle) was their first loss here, so they play the ground well. They’ve beaten us heavily here in the past and I’m sure they’re not fearing us at all.
“Their recent form has been up and down, but you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes with hub life and the challenges you have in that. They’ve just got out of quarantine the last few days and I’m assuming they’re ready to go this week.
“They’ll be out for redemption for last week. I know how proud they are as a club and how well they’re coached. It’s going to be a tough one.”