The West Australian exclusive

WAFL 2022: West Coast Eagles WAFL clash postponed as COVID, injuries hit hard ahead of Brisbane clash

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
West Coast are understood to not being able to field a full side for this weekend’s game against Brisbane.
Camera IconWest Coast are understood to not being able to field a full side for this weekend’s game against Brisbane. Credit: Paul Kane/via AFL Photos

West Coast are set to call upon WAFL players and their clash against East Fremantle at the WACA Ground on Saturday has been postponed after COVID and injuries ravaged the club again.

It is understood the Eagles do not have enough players to fill a side plus emergencies for Saturday’s clash against Brisbane, with coach Adam Simpson saying they were set to call on WAFL players off their contingency list for the second time this season.

They also had just Zane Trew as the only AFL-listed player available and number of injuries to their WAFL players which left them unable to field a team of 22 for their fixtured WAFL clash against East Fremantle at the WACA ground on Saturday from 2.30pm, the first time a game has been held at the ground since 1994.

This has been postponed though under the WA Football Commission rules, which say the Eagles and Peel Thunder are required to field a minimum of three AFL-listed players to play unless otherwise agreed upon.

The decision came after Simpson flagged the possibility of the game being postponed earlier in the day, with the Eagles set to be without up to 21 players.

“I don’t think there will be a WAFL game,” Simpson told SEN.

“We won’t have a team to play. We’re going to have to draw upon our list of WAFL players to not just to be emergencies, but I think we’ll have at least one that plays. He doesn’t know it yet and I don’t know who it is, so don’t ask.

“And possibly another one who may be a sub.”

The Eagles’ list of unavailable players increased this week, with defenders Alex Witherden and Jackson Nelson (health and safety protocols) as well as forward Willie Rioli (hamstring) and midfielder Xavier O’Neill (knee) ruled out after the 109-point loss to Richmond.

Defender Tom Barrass (hamstring) and Brady Hough (back) were also in doubt, while Luke Strnadica has been sick this week and Hugh Dixon was mysteriously absent from training on Monday, before returning on Wednesday.

Small forward Zac Langdon also injured his foot in Saturday’s WAFL loss to Peel Thunder, while captain Luke Shuey is out with soreness in his troublesome hamstring and a number of others are understood to yet to be revealed.

The postponed WAFL game can either be played in next weekend’s State Game bye or during another bye before finals.

WAFC’s WAFL and talent executive manager Scott Baker said they felt for East Fremantle after the historic game was put on the backburner.

“It’s obviously disappointing for the competition, but we put these rules in place at the start of the year because it was likely inevitable,” he said.

“It’s just unfortunate that it’s happening with East Fremantle meant to be returning to the WACA Ground this weekend.

“But with the situation of the Eagles’ AFL and WAFL lists, there was no other option but to postpone the game.”

West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett said the club was extremely disappointed the scheduled match against East Fremantle could not proceed this Saturday.

“It is extremely disappointing that circumstances will not allow us to fulfil this obligation because of the extenuating circumstances around player availability,” Mr Nisbett said.

“We support the WAFL’s decision to postpone this match in the interests of competition integrity.

“As a result of an extensive injury list and the intervention of further COVID-19 we simply cannot field a team this weekend. We thank East Fremantle for their understanding and look forward to playing the match at the WACA Ground in the near future.”

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails