General

Premiership defender returns for Good Friday clash

The West Coast Eagles have brought veteran Lewis Jetta back into the side for the club’s Good Friday match against Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium.

The premiership defender was withdrawn from last week’s team to play Fremantle because of a sore hamstring, but is expected to play this week.

Rookie Josh Rotham will miss out.

Coach Adam Simpson said he had no doubt Jetta would play, if fit.

“He’ll play. He’s in our best 18, so if he’s available he’ll play,” he said.

Port Adelaide come into this round after consecutive losses but Simpson says the Eagles are still very wary of the threat.

“I look at them as really similar to us. Their best football has looked really, really, good,” he said.

“They’ve had a couple of weeks where they probably haven’t closed out the game when they perhaps could have.

“We look at them with a lot of respect and it’s going to be a tough game.”

West Coast has also been impressed with its ruck duo, Tom Hickey and Nathan Vardy, who will take on the Power’s Paddy Ryder and former premiership Eagle Scott Lycett this week.

Simpson says the team’s decision to opt for two ruckmen has been paying off so far this season.

“They’re playing their role at the moment and I think our midfield has complemented Hickey as well, and it’s been a new relationship that’s worked itself out pretty well,” he said.

“We won the clearances by 12 or 13 last week, which is a good sign. (It) doesn’t mean it’s all about our rucks, but the collective is working okay and that’s the most important part.

“Port with Scotty and Ryder, that’s a pretty good combination, so I’d say we stick with our two this week.”

Superstar ruckman Nic Naitanui, who tore his ACL in the middle of last year, is yet to have his return date confirmed, but Simpson speculated he could be back in less than two months.

“I’m anticipating that it’ll be around the bye, before or after,” he said.

“I think we’re on schedule, I just don’t know what the exact date is on that.”

Friday night’s match starts at 6:10pm WST.

Watch the FULL press conference with Adam Simpson here.
Round 5 2019 Team lineup

Categories: General, Sport

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