West Coast will be allowed to host an elimination final at Optus Stadium, but coach Adam Simpson isn’t giving up on sneaking into the top four yet.
In their bid to firstly qualify for finals and then secure a double chance, the Eagles held up their end of the bargain by overcoming St Kilda in a brave victory last Thursday night.
However, Richmond’s win over Geelong has subsequently taken a top four finish out of West Coast’s hands.
In the final round the Eagles must defeat North Melbourne at Metricon Stadium to put pressure on the Tigers and Cats, who can hold their top four spots and deny West Coast a double chance with victories over Adelaide and Sydney, respectively.
The AFL confirmed on Tuesday the Eagles would only be allowed to host a final in the first week of the post-season, due to seven-day quarantine requirements from the WA Government.
“Regardless of what happens this weekend we’ll come back late this week and go into the isolation/quarantine the government has set out,” Simpson told Channel Seven.
“Then, hopefully, we could be back on a plane playing a final if we finish top four, or we stay in Perth if we finish fifth.
“I think we’d take the double chance if we could, no argument there. We’re more than happy to come over here (east) if we get a double chance.”
For the first time since arriving in Queensland for their second hub stint the Eagles held a main training session on Monday on an outer oval at Metricon Stadium, and several key players showed promising progress in their rehabilitation from injuries.
Skipper Luke Shuey (hamstring) and Jack Redden (thumb) were impressive, although neither will be ready for the clash with the Kangaroos.
“They’re on track for the first final,” Simpson said.
“(Mark) Hutchings (hamstring) was running around doing laps, I saw Elliot Yeo (groin) running as well.
“Lewis Jetta (calf) was out there and obviously Jamie Cripps (personal) back home, I’m seeing some vision of him running around, he’s just not in the right state.
“So we’ve got some players to come back in. I think we get Dom Sheed (hamstring) back this week, he was touch and go, but four-day break into the Saints so we rested him, but he’ll be available this week.
“But there won’t be too many guys coming back before finals.”
Star defender Jeremy McGovern is another who will miss the end of the home and away season after straining his hamstring against St Kilda.
“He will be touch and go for the first final and if we advance, that’s probably the best-case scenario would be the second final if we happen to get through the first week,” Simpson said.
“Really unfortunate for Gov, he was probably our best player up until he got injured and he looked like he was going to have a really good day.
“Unfortunately, he won’t be available for a few weeks but someone else has got to step up.”
In a bizarre twist to an already unprecedented season, the Eagles are staying in the same hotel, Sanctuary Cove, as North Melbourne ahead of their round 18 clash.
But in 2020 anything goes and it is all about getting on with the job.
“We’re no different to anyone else. Whoever wins this flag, it will be a special one,” Simpson said.
“We’re sharing a hotel with North and the Giants so it’s just bizarre just some of the things we’re dealing with.
“Things that will never happen again, and whoever is the most resilient will come out on top.”