'Absolutely wild': West Coast decimated as Covid crisis hits AFL club

·4-min read
Seen here, West Coast players walk off the ground after their round one loss to the Gold Coast Suns.
At least 12 West Coast players from the round one loss against Gold Coast have been ruled out of their side's round two clash. Pic: Getty

The West Coast Eagles have been plunged into a Covid-19 crisis just two days out from their round two match against North Melbourne in the AFL.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson confirmed on Friday that at least 12 players who featured in Sunday's loss to Gold Coast have been ruled out this week due to the AFL's Health and Safety Protocols.

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There are genuine fears that number could grow ahead of Sunday's showdown with the Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium.

A combination of positive results or close-contact rulings have stripped the West Coast team of many of their best players.

Josh Kennedy, Tom Barrass, Jack Redden, Zac Langdon and Isiah Winder were ruled out earlier this week and it's understood at least another seven players have been scratched.

The extraordinary situation means the Eagles will have to turn to a number of players who've never even trained with the AFL team, let alone featured in the competition.

Pictured here, West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson speaks to his players during a break in their AFL game.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson will have to turn to players who've never even trained with the team, due to the Covid-19 crisis. Pic: Getty

West Coast will have to hand a series of debuts to young players on their list, as well as dip into their top-up players from the WAFL.

With the AFL confirming that the game will still go ahead, some players are set put on a West Coast jersey on Sunday without ever having had a proper training session with the club.

The AFL have been steadfast in saying games will go ahead irrespective of Covid-19 outbreaks.

Eagles coach takes crisis on the chin

"There's no point crying about it, we've just got to get on with it," Simpson said.

"I think we've got 12 from last week's game that will be unavailable this week, so there's a little bit of work to do with our side.

"We'll have to confirm all that this afternoon, but we'll be leaning on the top-up players who have become available to us in the last few weeks."

Simpson says he expects the match to go ahead but the club has delayed its flight from Perth to Melbourne until Saturday, as they finalise playing numbers and availability.

"We're working with the AFL on the contingencies we use and [what we do] if we wake up tomorrow and we have another four or five."

Footy fans took to social media in stunned reaction to the situation on Friday.

with AAP

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