The West

Eagles fit for finals
West Coast forward Josh Kennedy training this week. Picture: Sharon Smith / The West Australian.

West Coast's injury crisis is over, allowing them to prepare for the business end of the season with a list healthier than it has been all year.

The Eagles have battled injury problems throughout 2012. Mark Nicoski (hamstring) and Mark LeCras (knee) haven't played a game, while Josh Kennedy (ankle) and Andrew Embley (shoulder) have been sidelined for most of the year.

Nicoski and LeCras won't return this season, but Embley has played two WAFL games and one AFL match since recovering from shoulder surgery.

Kennedy only has to get through the week unscathed to play his first match since late April.

Matt Rosa (jaw), Sam Butler (calf) and Brad Sheppard (ankle) will be available for Sunday's game against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium or next week's home match against Collingwood.

Young forwards Murray Newman (knee) and Ryan Neates (foot) will also be fit before the finals, leaving only defender Blayne Wilson, (ankle), who is yet to make his debut, alongside Nicoski and LeCras on the injury list.

"This week, providing those guys get through, we will have more players available than we have since early in the season," coach John Worsfold said.

"That's going to improve again over the next week or two."

Worsfold admitted he was toying with the idea of picking Kennedy to play against Port Adelaide.

Kennedy has trained strongly in recent weeks and has proved he doesn't need match practice to have an impact.

The key forward kicked seven goals in round one despite not playing during the pre-season.

But Worsfold said it was more likely that Kennedy would play for East Fremantle against West Perth on Sunday.

"No one's wanted to do any of the running with him because he's going too hard. It's enticing to bring him in and play him, use him as a sub or play him and sub him out of the game," Worsfold said.

"I've got no doubt he could do that and contribute to the team.

"But it's not necessarily the best preparation for him to get him through the rest of the season."

Worsfold also backed the AFL match review panel's decision to hand Geelong skipper Joel Selwood a reprimand for shoving a dazed Adam Selwood last Friday night.

Worsfold said the AFL had every right to protect an injured player, especially if that player had suffered a potential concussion.

"When a player's potentially injured, there's a rule that says you can't do anything to them," he said.

Worsfold said while "we can all see the fun" in the incident, rules were rules.

"We will have more players available than we have since early in the season. That's going to improve again over the next week or two." "West Coast coach *John Worsfold *

The West Australian

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