West Coast defender Sam Butler says he'll be gutted if his worst fears materialise and close friend Beau Waters is ruled out for the rest of the season because of a foot injury.
The thumping win over North Melbourne was the last thing on Butler's mind as he patrolled the change rooms last night.
While happy that his team had advanced to a semifinal against Collingwood after beating the Roos by 96 points, Butler simply wanted to know the extent of Waters' injury.
The rugged defender got carried from the field with what appeared to be a serious injury during the second term.
He went straight to the hospital for scans, but a concerned Butler couldn't find anyone to confirm what had happened.
"I saw him on the ground and I've asked a couple of people and they haven't given me any response. My fingers are firmly tightened," Butler said.
"He's one of the strongest people going around so it takes a bit to get him off the field. It's not a good sign.
"He's a leader of this football club. He's vice-captain and he leads not only by example but with his presence and his speeches before a game.
"He's been through too much. I know how it is to miss out with injury.
"It's gut-wrenching and he's a very close mate of mine, so I don't like to see him sad."
Waters missed the 2005 grand final with a groin injury and spent the second half of 2008, all of 2009 and half of 2011 sidelined with a serious elbow injury.
But he's responded superbly every time, with third place in the 2010 best and fairest followed by nomination for the All-Australian squad this season.
Butler and Waters share a close friendship but have rarely played together since the 2006 premiership because their injuries have occurred while the other has been fit.
Butler said he thought the pair had put their injury problems behind them after playing in the same team 11 times this year.
West Coast will travel for the rest of the finals series, starting with Saturday night's semifinal, and Butler said Waters would remain a driving force and constant inspiration for the team if he was ruled out of playing.
The Eagles will enter the clash against Collingwood filled with confidence after demolishing the Kangaroos. It was West Coast's biggest finals victory and they set up the win with seven goals to none in the first term.
But Butler said the players never looked at winning margins in finals, just making sure they played the game out.
"Getting the W is the main thing," Butler said. "The most important thing for us is to make sure we play the way we know we can for four quarters so it holds us in good stead for next week.
"Whether you win by 10 points or 100 points - obviously it's a lot nicer to win by 100 points - it's just good to see the boys play the way we want to play."Take nothing away from North Melbourne, but we know we're going to come up against teams that will challenge us more than that."
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.