Eagles on flu alert ahead of AFL trip to Tasmania
West Coast coach Adam Simpson says his team will take extra precautions during their trip to Tasmania as the club attempts to avoid a flu outbreak within the injury-hit squad.
Midfielder Luke Edwards was named in the extended squad for Sunday's bottom-of-the-table clash with Hawthorn in Launceston, but he was withdrawn on Friday after being struck down by the flu.
West Coast's availability is already near rock-bottom due to an unprecedented injury crisis, and Simpson knows his team can't afford to lose any more players.
The Eagles will take 27 players across to Tasmania in case there are more withdrawals through illness.
"(The flu) is around everywhere," Simpson told reporters before the team left on Friday.
"I think everyone knows someone who has COVID at the moment. We're not immune to it.
"We've had some players get it and come through - not in our senior side.
"We lost Luke Edwards - it wasn't COVID, it was general illness. The flu is just as powerful at the moment.
"We're just dealing with it. We'll take a bit more precaution with our day-to-day activities, and the flight, the plane, the airport, all that stuff.
"We'll take a full plane."
Jack Darling (broken arm) was the latest player to join the casualty ward, joining fellow stars such as Luke Shuey, Elliot Yeo, Jeremy McGovern, Liam Ryan, Jamie Cripps, Tom Cole, and Nic Naitanui on the sidelines.
Last-placed Hawthorn will be without Chad Wingard (calf) and defender Changkuoth Jiath (calf).
The match is being billed as the 'Harley Reid Cup', given the loser will be in the box seat to finish last and gain the No.1 draft pick.
Reid, who has been dubbed a Dustin Martin-clone, is the hot favourite to be selected with the first pick at this year's national draft.
Simpson isn't using the moniker for Sunday's game as motivation for his side.
"It's nothing to do with me or the club," Simpson said.
"We prepare to win. We want our players to win, and we're doing everything we can to get a win for our fans and supporters.
"The last thing you want to hear is you're trying not to (win)."