Injured West Coast wingman Matt Rosa hasn’t given up hope of making a dream return during the finals, but the club’s abundance of tall forwards has turned Quinten Lynch into a week-by-week proposition.
Rosa, who fractured his collarbone while attempting a brave mark in last Saturday’s 49-point win over Collingwood, will undergo surgery this week in a bid to be ready in time for the preliminary final.
The 25-year-old had only just returned from a broken jaw before suffering his latest setback.
But Eagles coach John Worsfold said the the limited game time wouldn’t necessarily rule Rosa out of a finals return.
“It won’t be too long before he’s able to get running and then it’s a matter of when he’s allowed to start tackling and things like that,” Worsfold said on Tuesday.
“You could bring him straight back in (once he’s recovered), I’ve got no doubt about that.
“He won’t have missed enough footy. He’ll be running fit and all that sort of thing.
“You don’t know how sharp they’re going to be with their actual touch and decision-making when they first come in, but that’s the decision we’ll have to make at the time.”
Last week’s return of ace spearhead Josh Kennedy resulted in Lynch’s late withdrawal from the match against Collingwood.
Lynch has booted 30 goals in 19 games this season, but the 207-game veteran is by no means a certainty to return for Friday night’s blockbuster against Hawthorn at the MCG.
The Eagles boast a glut of marking options in attack, with Kennedy and Jack Darling playing as permanent tall forwards and ruckmen Nic Naitanui and Dean Cox regularly rotating through there with great effect.
Worsfold said he would have to weigh up a variety of factors before deciding whether to add Lynch to that mix, but there are no guarantees for the 29-year-old.
“It’s not as though he’s out of form and we’re worried abut what he’s going to bring if he comes in,” Worsfold said.
“He’s fit and healthy and he’ll play a role when he gets the opportunity.
“The mix we felt we had with Jack, Josh and our ruckmen up there (against the Magpies) was the one we wanted to go for.
“Our responsibility is to pick the best team to perform on behalf of our members and the club.”
The Eagles will secure a top-four spot with victory over Hawthorn.
But a loss could see them slip to fifth in a result that would pit them in a must-win elimination final.