In-form West Coast defender Jeremy McGovern needs a medical clearance on an injured thumb to play against Melbourne in Perth on Saturday.
If McGovern is given the green light to continue his stunning season that coach Adam Simpson has declared at All-Australian selection level, the big-marking back man will again be considered for stints in the ruck against Demons in-form giant Max Gawn.
McGovern was forced into a medical assessment early in the second term of Sunday’s scrappy win over Carlton in Melbourne when he hurt his troublesome right thumb attempting a mark.
The classy defender resumed and played out the clash as one of the Eagles best afield.
Simpson revealed in regular Monday night interviews in Perth that McGovern will have scans to his right thumb before a final call is made on whether he tackles the Demons.
The coach also confirmed star ruckman Nic Naitanui could be back in action as early as Saturday-week against Collingwood in Melbourne.
But the Eagles boss reaffirmed his season-long reluctance to release McGovern up field.
McGovern remains West Coast’s most reliable backliner and one of the most influential intercept defenders in the business.
The 24-year-old remains headed for a direct match-up on rising Demons young gun forward Jesse Hogan in a showdown of two of the biggest rising stars of the game.
“He’s just going too bloody well down back,” Simpson said on radio 6PR, when asked if McGovern could pinch-hit as a ruckman.
“I don’t want to mess with a good thing to be honest.
“At the moment he’s probably in All-Australian form as a backman and I’d hate to mess with that.
“It’s something that I think he can actually adapt and play it pretty well as a ruckman and second ruck.
“We’ve all seen glimpses of him play as a forward but I think he could do some damage around the ground in the ruck.”
Simpson said that if Naitanui is not back in time for West Coast’s travelling assignment against the Pies, the powerhouse on-baller will play a week later against arch rivals Fremantle.
Naitanui, 26, is into the closing stages of a rehabilitation schedule after surgery to release severe pain and swelling around his Achilles tendons in both ankles a little more than a month ago.
He is tipped to resume full training this week ahead of his bid for a selection recall in time for a defining last month of appointments heading into September’s finals.
West Coast have engagements with top-four contenders Greater Western Sydney, Hawthorn and Adelaide to close out their home-and-away qualifying schedule immediately out of a derby showdown to start August.
Simpson has identified critical needs to increase scoring in road trips as well as for a broader spread of performances from each starting 22 for West Coast to revitalise their prospects as flag contenders this season.
West Coast remains a tight defensive unit, conceding just 77 points an outing to sit fourth in the category this season behind Sydney at 70, new glamour outfit Western Bulldogs (73) and Geelong (75).
Simpson disclosed plans to increase scoring, especially on the road, as well as a broader spread of contributors to the scoreboard and performances in general around the ground.
West Coast have an alarming 40-point swing in scoring at home and away from their hallowed Perth turf, averaging a hefty 120 points an outing through nine home engagements this season, but only 80 points a game from seven road assignments, including losses to premierships threats Hawthorn, Sydney, Geelong and Bulldogs.
Leading goal-scorers are reigning Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy with 55, Jack Darling at 32 and veteran small forward Mark LeCras on 28 through an 11-5 win-loss record so far this season to sit sixth on the league ladder.
“We’re a pretty good defensive unit, we don’t allow too great a score against us,” Simpson said.
“But our scores for, when we travel, is probably the one that drops a little bit.
“So we’ve got to find a way to kick goals, which probably for the perception of us is the other way around.
“I also think the balance of the contributors in our side, we need 22 if we’re going to have a good crack at it this year.
“Sometimes we lean too much towards our A-graders, which I think every club does.
“But we also need a good balance of contributors. To be a really genuine threat you’ve got to have a really good depth in that space.” Follow WAtoday on Twitter
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.