West Coast coach Adam Simpson isn’t expecting a match-winning performance from Lewis Jetta when the former Swan makes his AFL return against Gold Coast, but feels the speedy wingman now has a solid base to build on.
The 27-year-old was the Eagles’ prized recruit during the off-season, but he was dropped to the WAFL after just six games following a substandard start to the year.
He has been solid in the WAFL in the past fortnight, with his attitude and work ethic pleasing Simpson the most.
“He’s still working on some things that we want him to work on to be a West Coast player,” Simpson said on Friday.
“And you don’t just change over two weeks. But he’s displayed the right intent and attitude at WAFL level.
“We’re happy to have him back in the side.”
Jetta joins debutant Tom Cole as inclusions for Sunday’s clash at Domain Stadium, with Elliot Yeo (quad) and Andrew Gaff going out of the side.
Gaff was knocked unconscious during last week’s win over Port Adelaide, and he’s been given the week off despite passing his concussion test.
“He’s still quite not ready in our eyes,” Simpson said.
“He was knocked out for two minutes. When that happens, it does affect you mentally a little bit.
“He’s a bit rattled. He would have been OK to play. But we just think another week off will do him good.”
For 186cm Cole, it’s a case of third time lucky.
The young defender was preparing to make his debut against Hawthorn in round three when Luke Shuey rolled his ankle during the warm-up, but Shuey ended up being OK.
Then last week against the Power, Cole was set to replace Josh Kennedy in the side because the star forward was on baby watch with his pregnant wife in Perth.
But those plans were thwarted when Kennedy made a late dash to Adelaide.
“He’s probably waiting for some sort of late change this week,” Simpson joked.
Gold Coast received good and bad news on the selection front this week.
The injury-hit Suns were able to recall Steven May, Tom Nicholls, Gary Ablett, Clay Cameron, and Aaron Hall.
But Darcy MacPherson (knee), Sam Day (hip), Daniel Currie (finger), Jarrad Grant (hamstring), and Callum Ah Chee (concussion) were forced out.
Gold Coast have lost their past six matches, and West Coast will start the hottest of favourites in Sunday’s encounter.