Predictability is a key element of any game plan. And the match committee may have had that in mind when they sat down to select the West Coast Eagles line-up for Sunday’s RAC Derby against Fremantle.
There was a strong expectation that captain Luke Shuey, live-wire forward Liam Ryan and key defender Tom Barrass would resume for this match at Optus Stadium.
That was confirmed.
It was also expected that champion defender Shannon Hurn would miss with a hamstring, that a decision on the fitness of record-breaking forward Josh Kennedy would be deferred until as late as possible. Tick those boxes too.
Kennedy was named in the starting 18 despite a low-key appearance on the track at main training.
Liam Duggan, omitted late on Monday with a knee injury, remains on the injury list with his immediate availability uncertain.
So with all of that swirling around, those three senior players as mentioned are in the starting line-up, while Jake Waterman and Luke Foley have been named on an extended bench.
Hurn is out and so is developing midfielder/forward Connor West, who drops out after four games in succession. Not because he hasn’t had an impact at the level, but because someone has to make way for the return of the skipper.
Also named on the extended bench are small forwards Jack Petruccelle and Zac Langdon, who was injected into the game as the medical sub to replace Hurn at quarter-time on Monday, developing midfielder Luke Edwards, ruckman Nathan Vardy, young defender Harry Edwards and experienced midfielder Mark Hutchings.
Petruccelle, Langdon, Vardy, Luke and Harry Edwards all played against Melbourne.