Eagles flag hopes hurt by Masten injury

West Coast coach Adam Simpson has set his sights on winning the AFL flag, but untimely injuries to key duo Chris Masten and Jeremy McGovern will hurt his cause.

Masten is almost certain to miss Friday night’s qualifying final against Hawthorn in Perth after injuring his hamstring in the Eagles’ 95-point demolition of St Kilda.

Scans on Sunday will determine the extent of the damage, but Masten appears set to miss at least one week.

McGovern is yet to fully recover from the left shoulder injury he suffered against Adelaide in round 22.

The 23-year-old was clearly hampered against the Saints on Saturday night, using his right arm to spoil on numerous occasions instead of taking his usual intercept marks.

West Coast need a fit and firing McGovern in the finals if they are to contain the competition’s best power forwards.

Simpson is confident McGovern will be fine to play the star-studded Hawks, saying the former rookie will need to learn how to manage the pain.

“In the first half it looked like he was carrying it a little bit, but the second half he was fine,” Simpson said after his team’s 18.17 (125) to 4.6 (30) demolition of the Saints.

“It’s a typical AC that’s sore and you’ve got to look after it.

“There will be lots and lots of players who play with it.

“It’s not a concern for this week. He’s just got to play with a bit of pain, which I’m sure he’s happy to do.”

Key defender Will Schofield, who has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, will return against the Hawks.

Hawthorn are set to be without speedster Isaac Smith, who injured his knee in Saturday’s 57-point win over Carlton.

West Coast finished ninth last year, but they have a great chance to win this season’s flag after snaring second spot and a home qualifying final.

Hawthorn and Fremantle sit above the Eagles in the premiership betting market.

But Simpson is urging his charges to reach for the stars.

“We’re here to win a premiership,” Simpson declared.

“You’ve got to go for it now when you finish second.

“We’re ecstatic (to finish second) and hope all of our members and supporters are enjoying the ride as much as we are.

“We’re a young coaching group as well and we’ve probably exceeded a lot of people’s expectations.

“Internally I don’t think we put a ceiling on what we could achieve.”

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