West Coast face a tightrope walk with the AFL Tribunal in the race for a coveted top-four berth after the club yesterday prepared to lose a fourth player to suspension in six weeks.
Vice-captain Beau Waters was offered a one-match ban by the league's match review panel after being charged with rough conduct for his bump on Brisbane midfielder Jack Redden during Sunday's two-point loss at the Gabba.
It means West Coast will now have lost players to suspension for six weeks in total this season - more than any other club - if they accept the verdict. Waters is set to join Will Schofield (striking), Ashton Hams (rough conduct) and Luke Shuey (striking) as Eagles suspended since round five in a troubled run that has defied the club's billing as umpire darlings.
Only premiers Geelong (five weeks) and Adelaide (four weeks) have come close to challenging the league's serial offender this season.
The latest suspension leaves the league leaders with a stockpile of first-choice players who are just one minor infraction from another spell on the sidelines.
Shuey will be free to play in the clash against Carlton at Patersons Stadium on Thursday week after serving his one-game ban. But he will carry 68.75 points on his record for the rest of the season and would face a 10 per cent loading if levelled with a second charge.
Schofield has 39.06 points and a 20 per cent increase hanging over his head, while Hams (19.38 points and 50 per cent) and Waters (64.06 points and 10 per cent) would be all but guaranteed bans for any future indiscretions.
Scott Selwood, Quinten Lynch and Nic Naitanui round out the list of Eagles with points left on their records from last season.
Eagles coach John Worsfold said in the wake of Shuey's suspension that actions which resulted in an unnecessary suspension let the team down.
In contrast to their tribunal record, West Coast have not lost a free-kick count in any of their 10 matches this year amid widespread criticism they have deliberately practised drawing high-tackle free kicks.
Club officials were due to announce this morning whether they would challenge Waters' ban.
They are expected to accept the ruling given the risk of a two-game suspension if they lost the case at the tribunal.
The incident during the third quarter in which Waters knocked Redden to the ground with a front-on bump inside the centre square was judged as negligent conduct, low impact and high contact.
Waters would have escaped with a reprimand if not for carrying 93.75 demerit points on his record.
The club's position could have been worse if not for the panel's decision to clear skipper Darren Glass over a separate bump in the final term against the Lions.
Glass knocked youngster Josh Green to the ground as they collided after running at a loose ball from opposite directions. <div class="endnote">