West Coast midfielder Scott Selwood is poised to make a shock return against St Kilda on Saturday, but Dom Sheed’s bright start to the AFL season has hit a snag.
Sheed is set to spend at least a week on the sidelines after fracturing his hand in last Saturday’s win over Gold Coast.
But in better news, Selwood has finally recovered from a long-standing ankle issue and is ready to play his first game since round one.
The 25-year-old was named as an inclusion on Thursday, but there remains a slight chance he could be withdrawn if he doesn’t pull up well from training.
Selwood has battled the ankle injury for more than a year now, and Simpson said it was an issue the club needed to remain vigilant about.
“We’ve been told it’s going to take a fair bit of time to get it fully pain free,” Simpson said.
“He’s carried it for over a year now and he’s had two operations on that ankle.
“So there’s probably a bit of concern from his end, if it’s really right.
“I think he’s in a clear space now. He’s ready to go.”
Star defender Jeremy McGovern will return from a corked calf, with Sheed and Jackson Nelson (omitted) to make way.
St Kilda lost skipper Nick Riewoldt (concussion), Luke Delaney (hip), and Jack Lonie (concussion), but Leigh Montagna returns from a hamstring issue.
Tim Membrey and Blake Acres were also recalled.
Sheed has played every game for the Eagles this season, averaging 20 possessions across that period.
“We’ve been really pleased with his progression,” Simpson said.
“Every week I see something extra that he does in the game.
“He’s learning a lot from Pridda. But unfortunately he’s got a sore hand and can’t play. He’s definitely not out of the side because of form.”
Simpson said he wasn’t expecting miracles from Selwood in his first game back.
“I’m not expecting when he comes back he’s going to dominate the game,” Simpson said.
“But he’s our vice-captain and he’s in our best 22, so he’ll find a way.
“It might take a little bit of time but we’re patient.”
The Eagles are flying high in second spot following four straight wins, while St Kilda are struggling in 14th spot with a 2-5 record.