West Coast will have to turn to plan ‘D’ in defence after swingman Jeremy McGovern became the club’s latest backman to succumb to a knee injury.
McGovern will undergo scans on Monday after he tweaked his left knee while making a sliding tackle in Sunday’s 30-point loss to Fremantle.
Although his setback isn’t as serious as the season-ending knee injuries suffered by teammates Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown, McGovern is still expected to miss several weeks.
With the trio all sidelined, Will Schofield is the only remaining key defender left standing in the team’s best 22.
The injuries to Brown and Mackenzie have forced the Eagles to play midfielder Elliot Yeo as a key defender several times this year.
And now that McGovern is out injured, ruckman/forward Callum Sinclair, 19-year-old Tom Barrass, and the 197cm Fraser McInnes are in the running to join a patched-up defensive unit.
Barrass and McInnes are yet to make their AFL debuts, while Sinclair has played just nine matches over two seasons.
West Coast will be aiming to bounce back to the winners’ list when they take on struggling Brisbane at the Gabba on Sunday.
The Eagles were smashed in almost every single key statistical area against the Dockers.
Fremantle booted the first 11 goals of the game on the way to the 17.9 (111) to 12.9 (81) victory, with the margin 79 points early in the third term before West Coast got some cheap reward during junk time.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson said it was imperative for the club’s midfield to lift in order to protect the undermanned defence.
And he remains optimistic the season won’t go into freefall despite the heavy injury toll down back.
“We’ll find a way. We’ve got to find a way,” Simpson said.
“We’ve got some players at East Perth who are playing in new positions, and we need to develop still.
“But unfortunately (the injuries) are taking away some midfielders that we might need to play up the ground as well, and Elliot Yeo’s one of those,
“I think he’s going to be a big midfielder for us, but at the moment we need him down back.”