West Coast are now two games and percentage adrift of the fourth spot after suffering a shock 16-point loss to Essendon in Perth.
West Coast’s top-four hopes are hanging in the balance after Tim Kelly and Oscar Allen became the latest stars to join the club’s injury list.
Kelly damaged the medial ligament in his right knee during Saturday night’s shock 16-point loss to Essendon in Perth, while Allen suffered a concussion after falling on his head and neck.
Allen will miss next week’s clash with Carlton, while Kelly will be sidelined for at least several weeks even if the injury is on the minor end.
If scans reveal significant damage, he could miss six or more weeks.
Kelly has been West Coast’s best midfielder this year, and his absence leaves a massive void.
All Australian defender Jeremy McGovern will miss another three weeks with a knee injury, while Luke Shuey (hamstring surgery) is still at least a month away from returning to AFL ranks.
Liam Duggan will miss another two weeks with a knee injury.
West Coast’s first home loss of the year has left them clinging to a spot in the eight with a 6-5 record.
They are now two wins and significant percentage adrift of fourth spot, and face a major battle to earn a double finals chance this year.
One dose of good news for West Coast was the successful return of Elliot Yeo, who was playing his first AFL match in nine months.
Yeo, who is on the comeback trail from osteitis pubis, tallied 14 disposals and five clearances against the Bombers off limited game time.
“He was a bit rusty early and then worked his way into it,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.
“He’ll build his minutes, but we’ve got to manage him for the rest of the year.”
Essendon’s win came courtesy of huge midfield efforts from Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett and a three-goal second half from forward Jake Stringer.
The Bombers’ third win on the trot has improved their record to 5-6, with a Dreamtime clash against Richmond to come.
That match may end up being in Perth due to the COVID-19 breakout in Victoria, and Bombers coach Ben Rutten said his side would embrace the fixture switch if it happens.
“It’s a fantastic stadium to play footy at, there’s nothing to fear coming here,” Rutten said.
“It’s a great environment and a great energy.”
Bombers’ big man Peter Wright, who was a late withdrawal against the Eagles because of a calf injury, is unlikely to be fit to play against Richmond.