West Coast coach Adam Simpson is confident that key defender Jeremy McGovern will be fit to take on Richmond at the MCG after suffering a corked calf in the Eagles’ round 11 win over Essendon.
“He will travel and train, and we’ll assess it after that but we think it’s going to be OK. He ran yesterday so if he can train, he’ll play,” Simpson said.
The Eagles will need him to be at his best on Friday against a freshened Richmond side who went into their bye week off the back of becoming the only side to beat Fremantle this season.
Key talls Jack Riewoldt, Ben Griffiths and the much-maligned Ty Vickery all present a threat and McGovern would be expected to be matched on one of those targets.
Without him it would mean a massive task for Will Schofield, Elliot Yeo and company to hold things together.
“He’s in our best 18, Gov, (McGovern) so we want him in the side but if he’s not right, we’ll go down a different tack,” Simpson added.
“We’re not blessed with big tall defenders, but we’re finding a way. I know they have a tall forward line and Gov will help that.”
During West Coast’s climb to the AFL’s top four, McGovern has become vital in defence, especially after the Eagles’ best two defenders Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown suffered season-ending knee injuries.
The Eagles have the bye following Friday’s game, but Simpson isn’t looking past the challenge the Tigers present and a cold night game on the broad expanse of the MCG.
“We can’t do too much to prepare for it here except put the sprinklers on, and we train at night and reduce the ground size at Subi but we can’t make it wider,” Simpson said.
“We’ve prepared the best we can and we don’t get to play at `the G’ too often, especially at night.
“I don’t think you can replicate playing at the MCG in five degrees on a wet night.”