West Coast captain Luke Shuey is set to return in subsequent Sunday’s blockbuster in opposition to the Western Bulldogs, after impressing in his first WAFL recreation in additional than a decade.
Shuey helped lead the Eagles’ reserves to an exciting five-point win over Subiaco at Leederville Oval, their first victory of the season, having 22 touches and 7 marks in an brisk outing throughout 67 minutes of recreation time.
He is set to be joined by Tim Kelly, Jeremy McGovern and Brad Sheppard as inclusions for West Coast. The Eagles are making ready to unleash their most well-liked centre sq. set-up – comprising Nic Naitanui, Shuey, Kelly and Elliot Yeo – for the primary time since spherical 11 final season.
Joining celebrations within the reserves dressing room was banned ahead Willie Rioli, who was amongst a big group of gamers who got here to assist the WAFL facet on the senior workforce’s bye weekend.
Rioli was warmly embraced by teammates in the course of the afternoon, some who noticed him for the primary time in practically 18 months, and he fortunately posed for selfies with followers.
Rioli’s coaching ban lifts on Sunday, marking the beginning of a nine-week pre-season program the Eagles hope could have him obtainable for choice when his two-year doping suspension lifts on August 20.
West Coast reserves coach Daniel Pratt mentioned the eight-day break earlier than the match in opposition to the Dogs ought to allow a really perfect preparation for Shuey’s first AFL recreation in 12 weeks.
The Norm Smith medallist has not performed at senior degree since struggling a hamstring tendon harm in spherical three.
“He looked like he was almost back to full fitness today, even with the long lay-off he’s had,” Pratt mentioned.
“He was pretty handy as well, he had some good moments. I’d assume if he pulls up well that he’ll be available and play.
“But if he needs to tick some other boxes, we’ll see what happens during the week. He looks pretty good at the moment.”
Pratt mentioned the day was essential for Rioli’s soccer reintegration.
“It’s great to get him back into the club and it’s probably a good environment for him to come down and watch today and touch base with a few of the boys again,” he mentioned.
“I think the best environment for him to be in now is probably around the boys and the club. I’m sure there’s few things that we’ve got to work through in the next couple of days, but we’re looking forward to having him back.”
The recreation was essential for a string of Eagles hoping to push themselves into choice competition, with stress for spots ramping up now the squad is match.
Premiership tagger Mark Hutchings had a game-high 32 disposals as he pushed for his first AFL recreation of the season, whereas defender Alex Witherden was brilliant with 26 touches in his return from a groin harm.
Midfielder Brayden Ainsworth had 25 touches in a brand new position throughout half-back, whereas large males Nathan Vardy and Bailey Williams have been each influential. Utility Oscar Allen returned to his former back-up ruck position final weekend in opposition to Richmond however might play as a everlasting ahead if the Eagles wish to go taller and use Vardy or Williams to assist Nic Naitanui.
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