WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson isn’t worried about the prospect of instability despite confirming he will make six changes for Thursday night’s AFL clash with Essendon at Optus Stadium.
Willie Rioli and Nathan Vardy go out through suspension, but the other four changes would be unforced – with the likes of Josh Smith, Josh Rotham, and Jake Waterman in danger of the axe in the wake of the 45-point loss to Sydney.
Skipper Shannon Hurn (hamstring), Oscar Allen (Achilles) and Elliot Yeo (calf) all return from injury, while goalsneak Jarrod Cameron will make his AFL debut.
Simpson decided upon the mass changes in response to the meek loss to Sydney and the availability of several stars.
“It (six changes) sounds like a lot, but the circumstances probably warrant the changes,” Simpson said.
“When you get players like Hurn, Yeo, Allen available, and a couple of suspensions as well …
“It’s not too often you make that many changes. But when you look at the side we still think it’s quite balanced and experienced.”
Cameron, the younger brother of Brisbane star Charlie Cameron, has impressed Simpson since being snared with pick No. 39 in last year’s national draft.
Simpson decided to have some fun with the 19-year-old upon telling him he was in line to debut against Essendon.
“We got him to kick a goal for his spot,” Simpson said.
“He missed the first one, so we said double or nothing. He kicked the next goal.
“He was 20m out directly in front. He was going to get it eventually.”
Meanwhile, West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui will make his return from a second knee reconstruction when he lines up for West Coast’s WAFL side against East Fremantle on Saturday.
Simpson said there would be no restrictions on the amount of rucking Naitanui would do, with the 2012 All-Australian to play between 60-70 minutes.
If Naitanui gets through the game unscathed, he will come straight back into West Coast’s senior side for next week’s clash with Hawthorn at the MCG.
Simpson said the rain forecast for Saturday’s game didn’t make him think twice about playing Naitanui.
“I don’t think we’re at the stage where the weather’s going to stop him playing,” Simpson said.
“If we are, we probably shouldn’t be playing him. It won’t be a pretty game, but hopefully he can get through the minutes.”
Tom Barrass, who hasn’t played since undergoing foot surgery following the Round 4 win over Fremantle, will also return in Saturday’s WAFL clash.
© AAP 2019