West Coast ruckman Scott Lycett still remains a vital cog in the club’s long-term plans despite being axed for Saturday night’s clash with GWS, according to coach Adam Simpson.
Lycett has averaged just 11 possessions and 14 hit-outs a game this season, with his meagre tally of two goals also playing against him at the selection table.
The 22-year-old’s poor form convinced Simpson to drop him in favour of Callum Sinclair, who can play either forward, back, or in the ruck.
Port Adelaide were desperate to lure Lycett their way last year, but the South Australian ended up re-signing with the Eagles on a lucrative four-year deal instead.
Simpson said it was in everyone’s best interests for Lycett to regain his form in the WAFL.
“We’ve still got him in our plans and it’s still part of his progression, but he needs to go back and find some solid form,” Simpson said.
“He’s just not playing well enough at the moment.
“If we’re going to play two rucks in our side, they’ve got to produce as forwards as well.
“Cal Sinclair has been knocking on the door and provides some flexibility as well, so we’ve gone with Cal this week.”
Simpson confirmed midfielder Luke Shuey (ankle) had passed a fitness test at training on Friday and was a certain starter against GWS at Domain Stadium.
And in more good news for the Eagles, star forward Jack Darling (foot) has resumed full training and could make his playing return within the next three weeks.
“He’s pushing. I’m pushing. The medical staff are pushing patience,” Simpson said.
“We’ve got to get it right. We don’t want to bring him back any earlier than he should be.
“Whenever he’s ready and his body tells us he’s right to go and the medical department ticks it off, we’ll start planning for that.”
West Coast have thrashed GWS by a combined 292 points in the three previous meetings between the two sides.
However, with GWS sitting in second spot on the table with a 3-1 record, Simpson predicts it won’t be as easy this time around.
“They are the most improved team from last year,” Simpson said.
“They have a lot of high end talent, but they also have some grunt as well.”