The West

Teammates rally for Matt Rosa
West Coast midfielder Matt Rosa taken from the field after a heavy hit. Picture: AFL Media.

Norm Smith medallist Andrew Embley has urged luckless midfielder Matt Rosa to retain hope of playing in the finals, despite suffering a fractured collarbone during Saturday night's win over Collingwood at Patersons Stadium.

Rosa injured his right shoulder after running with the flight of the ball during the final term and colliding with teammate Will Schofield and Magpie Chris Dawes. It was Rosa's first game back from a broken jaw sustained in round 18.

The 25-year-old missed last year's finals after injuring a knee in round 20 and was overlooked for the 2006 flag after gaining 23 possessions in West Coast's semifinal win over the Western Bulldogs.

Embley has spent most of this season out with a shoulder injury.

But in 2003, he recovered from a broken collarbone in just three weeks and played in the finals.

Embley said Rosa had shown why he deserved the chance to play in the finals and had to believe he could recover in time.

"It was enormous courage to do what he did. It typifies what a person he is," Embley said.

"We'll get behind him and hopefully he can get himself back in a few weeks because it is possible.

"It's a physical game but Matty Rosa has enormous character. He plays the football hard and tough. Unfortunately he's come off second best. He's faced adversity before but he'll be fine."

Ruckman Dean Cox said the players' first thoughts after the team meeting were finding Rosa. A popular player, Cox said everyone was devastated to see him injured again, but they had told Rosa how important he was to the team.

West Coast must now decide who should move to the wing to replace Rosa's running game.

Embley has played as a wingman and his height offers another dimension when he gets into space.

But with Andrew Gaff holding down one wing, it was more likely West Coast would shuffle several players, including Chris Masten and Luke Shuey, through the other side to get the most out of the position.

"We've got a number of players who can run through there. Obviously Gaffy is holding down one wing, but we've got Masto, myself and Shuey who can do it," Embley said.

"We've got players who can play midfield or play forward. It's just a matter of rotating that and getting your best mix."

Rosa joined Mark LeCras, Mark Nicoski and Brad Sheppard on the injury list.

Josh Kennedy played his first game since round five and got through the match unscathed.

Embley has played three games in a row after a shoulder operation and said the squad had proved it could cover for injuries.

"The 22 out there every week have been doing their job. We've got enormous depth," he said.

"We'll get behind him and hopefully he can get himself back in a few weeks because it is possible."" *Andrew Embley * on *Matt Rosa *

The West Australian

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