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Eagle eyes on finals ramifications

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17th September, 2020
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West Coast need at least one result to fall their way over the weekend if they are to lock in an AFL top-four berth and finals double-chance.

The Eagles moved into third spot on the ladder and put one hand on a possible finals double-chance with a dour 15-point defeat of North Melbourne on Thursday night.

But they will drop back to fifth if, as expected, flag contenders Richmond and Geelong beat low-ranked opponents Adelaide and Sydney respectively in their last-round matches.

That would leave West Coast with a home elimination final, to be played at Optus Stadium on Saturday, October 3.

“I get caught up in that and you sort of start hoping teams win or lose,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

“I’m just like every other West Coast supporter out there.

“At least we put a bit of pressure on the two sides, they’ve got to win to lock away top-four.

“If we don’t get it, we finish fifth and we get a home final.”

After completing another stint of more than three weeks in Queensland with their win over North Melbourne, the Eagles will fly home to Perth on Friday.

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Players and staff will spend time at home with their families and complete a 14-day quarantine period under COVID-19 rules laid out by the West Australian government.

Simpson welcomed the pre-finals bye week as a chance to refresh his squad, with several stars racing against time to prove their fitness for week one of the finals.

Luke Shuey (hamstring), Jack Redden (thumb), Mark Hutchings (hamstring) and Lewis Jetta (calf) are all good chances to be available, while Jeremy McGovern (hamstring) is “more unlikely than likely”.

Elliot Yeo (groin) is almost certain to miss out and Josh Kennedy is waiting on further assessment of an ankle injury picked up against North Melbourne.

Jamie Cripps is available after missing four matches when he returned home from Queensland for the birth of his first child.

“There’s a few there,” Simpson said.

“We had two defenders playing on the wings (against North Melbourne) and I think Duggo (Liam Duggan) has been pretty good as a midfielder.

“We’ve been bit in the mids for the last four or five weeks, so we’ve got to get to work there, but we’ll have two or three mids back.”

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