WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson has leapt to the defence of two-time membership champion midfielder Elliot Yeo and labelled criticism of him and the membership as “irrelevant” and “unfair”.
Port Adelaide nice and commentator Kane Cornes blasted Yeo on the 9 Community for a “lack of impact” since his return from a calf damage in spherical 5, questioning his weight and claiming the 1-5 Eagles’ “standards have slipped”.
Yeo was subbed out within the second quarter with concussion in Saturday’s 84-point loss to Port Adelaide, having solely gathered 15 disposals on managed minutes on his return from a pre-season calf damage within the earlier week in opposition to Sydney.
“To be honest I haven’t read anything that Kane Cornes has written or heard anything he’s said, so irrelevant is what comes to my mind about what his opinion is,” Simpson bristled when requested in regards to the feedback.
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When Cornes’ feedback have been articulated to him, Simpson added: “Elliot Yeo has not performed soccer for the final two-and-a-half years, actually. He is had osteitis, he had a calf damage, he bought knocked out in the beginning of the second quarter, he is performed two video games this yr.
“I think that’s a little bit unfair if that’s the criticism on him. He’s played 12-13 games in the last 40. He’s working really hard. I’ll back him and it’s still irrelevant.”
Extra broadly, West Coast’s collective health has been criticised however Simpson moved to elucidate that problem after a season filled with disruptions.
“Going into pre-season for us, we were really happy with our fitness. I think we had 17 PBs (personal bests) in our time trials and we were in really good shape,” Simpson mentioned.
“We’ve had 20-plus injuries since then and 23 players have had COVID and we’re working really hard to get that fitness back. Absolutely, I can understand the criticism but we’re working really hard to get as fit as we can and as healthy as we can.”
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The Eagles might be again on the large stage after they host Richmond on Friday evening, with a bumper crowd anticipated after the WA authorities additional eased native restrictions, permitting for a mask-free capability attendance at 60,000-seater Optus Stadium.
Simpson confirmed four-time All-Australian defender Jeremy McGovern would return after lacking the previous two video games attributable to well being and security protocols, whereas mature-age draftee Greg Clark would make his AFL debut.
The Eagles coach additionally revealed that two-time All-Australian winger Andrew Gaff might return from three video games out with an ankle damage because the medical sub or through the WAFL.
“Gaff’s a bit different,” Simpson mentioned. “We’re going to must discover. The sweetness about this week is we’ve bought WAFL on Saturday. Gaffy’s missed three out of 4 weeks.
“He’s not prepared for a full sport of AFL, so we’re contemplating him because the sub figuring out that he can play on managed minutes, however extra importantly he can play a full sport of WAFL as properly.
“We’re looking at it a little bit differently than trying to get that match fitness as you go. He’s an opportunity for a sub. He’ll definitely be on the emergency list, and then we’ll work through that in the next 24 hours.”
The Gaff scenario comes after current criticism of West Coast’s choice after they introduced again Yeo, Luke Shuey, Tim Kelly and Jamie Cripps directly following lay-offs.
Simpson added: “I can perceive the criticism. In fact, it appears to be like like some gamers are properly and actually underdone after they play, particularly once you lose.
“Every case is different. Managing a player through a game on managed minutes is always a challenge, and it’s a debate every club has when an A-grader is available for a certain amount of time versus playing VFL or WAFL. It’s just when you have three or four that are doing that, that’s when it becomes a real challenge.”
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Clark, who’s a 24-year-old 195cm midfielder, will get his alternative after a pre-season shoulder damage, with a spot opening up with Yeo unavailable attributable to concussion.
West Coast chosen up Clark with choose No.62 in final yr’s NAB AFL Draft, having been finest afield in Subiaco’s WAFL Grand Closing triumph final yr.
“He’s done it differently than all the others,” Simpson mentioned. “He confirmed quite a lot of resilience as an individual and a participant to undergo the draft course of and never get picked up.
“He played at Subiaco, became a leader. He’s done it the hard way. He popped his shoulder early in the pre-season and missed six weeks. He’s come back and played a couple of games at WAFL level and showed he’s ready. Really happy for him and can’t wait to see him play.”
Simpson additionally mentioned back-up ruckman Hugh Dixon was an opportunity to face the Tigers following a calf subject, pending how he pulls up from Thursday coaching.