Mackenzie eyes off Petrie
West Coast Eagles defender Eric Mackenzie. Picture: Lincoln Baker / The West Australian.

West Coast power defender Eric Mackenzie has recovered from a hamstring strain in time to spearhead the defence against North Melbourne's three-pronged tall forward line in Sunday's elimination final at Patersons Stadium.

And veteran power forward Quinten Lynch is in contention to force his way back into the team for a 13th finals appearance after being named on a seven-man interchange bench.

Lynch, Bradd Dalziell, Ashton Hams and Mackenzie were the four inclusions to the Eagles team which lost to Hawthorn by 25 points at the MCG last Friday night.

Defender Mitch Brown, given the unenviable task of standing Hawk Lance Franklin in the defeat, is the only player omitted at this point.

Lynch's inclusion gives the Eagles coverage for forward Josh Kennedy, who got his injured ankle trapped under a Hawks defender late in last Friday's match.

Mackenzie's return is critical because of tall Kangaroo forwards Drew Petrie, Robbie Tarrant and Lachie Hansen.

Mackenzie, who usually takes the most dangerous forward, is likely to go to Petrie, while Darren Glass and Will Schofield will share duties on Hansen and Tarrant.

The Kangaroos named Hansen and star midfielder Daniel Wells in their 25-man squad.

Wells has been recovering from a calf injury. Hansen was named despite suffering blurred vision from a head clash early in last weekend's match against GWS.

Wells suffered his injury in North's round-20 win over Essendon and says he is no certainty to tackle West Coast. The 27-year-old admitted he had feared for his finals campaign when the injury occurred.

He had then been frustrated by the injury's inconsistent response over the past fortnight.

"It's so weird because it's just changed so quickly ... it's just changed on a dime," Wells said.

"It's gone from being pretty sore to being able to run at 70 or 80 per cent, which is a massive jump.

"So even I don't really know.

"But I'll go over (to Perth) on Saturday and do another session and hopefully I'll be ready to go.

"Nothing is sure in this game, but I'm going to be putting my best foot forward.

"The danger (is) you could take it to the next degree and actually tell a little fib because you're trying everything to get there.

"But you live and die by the sword and you know deep down if you're not right.

"The stakes are extremely high, not just for me but for the club and all the boys. It's cutthroat and it might be the only chance you get to play finals for a long time.

"I feel like I'm going to get on the plane and I'll be right. That's what I'm looking at."

Wells, who suffered life-threatening blood clots late last year, said the fact he had only had one win in four finals had become a great motivator as he had watched other players from his draft year, like Geelong's Andrew Mackie, play in premierships.

"This is why we play, it's what it's all about," Wells said.

"It's a long haul to get yourself to here. It's all about action now.

"It's time and place and playing a part in your team."

The West Australian

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