Two months after playing his 200th AFL match Lewis Jetta will play his 201st when he resumes for the West Coast Eagles against Essendon at the Gabba tomorrow night.
Jetta’s milestone game was notched up against Port Adelaide when the Eagles were last in a Queensland hub and it was their third successive defeat in that stint.
The Eagles match committee initiated change and with the team going on an eight-game winning streak – broken only last Thursday when reigning premiers Richmond proved too strong – changes have been limited.
And the form of Jetta’s rivals for spots as medium-sized defenders – Liam Duggan, Tom Cole and Jackson Nelson – has been exceptional. So the veteran has been forced to bide his time.
The return of Jetta is one of four changes the Eagles have made in response to that loss, with defender Nelson, young forward Oscar Allen and Jetta’s premiership teammate Jack Redden all selected.
Redden, Allen and Nelson were all injured in the club’s final game of the season at Optus Stadium eight days ago.
Redden had a mild thigh strain, while Allen received a knock to the hip and Nelson suffered a sore shoulder after a collision just before half time.
Nelson and Allen played out that match, but the club took a conservative approach and left them out of the team that played Richmond four days later.
The Eagles could not consider Josh Kennedy (concussion) or Jamie Cripps, who has returned to Perth to be with partner Olivia for the pending arrival of their first child.
Versatile youngster Jarrod Brander and mature-aged forward Nic Reid, who made his debut three weeks ago, have been omitted.
Kennedy has made a strong recovery from a head knock that forced him out of the game against Richmond and has passed all of the concussion protocols along the way, but the five-day lapse between games has worked against him.