Kerr sees fitter Eagles bouncing back
Chris Masten

West Coast champion Daniel Kerr says the Eagles are in a better position to ride out an unlucky injury run than they were in 2013 because virtually all of the squad has managed a full pre-season.

The Eagles have lost five first-choice players to injury in a fortnight to take the gloss off a promising 3-0 start to the season.

Mark LeCras (broken arm) and Shannon Hurn (knee) will miss the next four weeks and midfielder Chris Masten will be sidelined for up to three weeks with a hamstring strain.

Darren Glass (hip) will miss tonight's game against Geelong at Simonds Stadium and Beau Waters will soon have season- ending shoulder surgery.

Early casualties derailed last season as the Eagles battled to make up lost ground with LeCras, Hurn, Nic Naitanui, Matt Rosa, Will Schofield, Luke Shuey and Sharrod Wellingham missing large chunks of the year.

Kerr was among a host of Eagles who had surgery heading into the 2013 season.

He managed just 10 games and pulled the plug on his 220-game career as West Coast slumped to 13th on the ladder.

Kerr predicts this year will be different. "Last year we had injuries to older players and guys who were really struggling to get back and have an impact in the second half of the year or have an impact at all," he said.

"They're better placed because all the guys who are injured have had full pre-seasons, they're all fit, they'll keep their fitness up and once they're ready to go they'll be straight back into the side.

"The key with football these days is having an uninterrupted pre-season and having your best 35 players on the track during pre-season.

"The game's so quick these days that if you don't have that base fitness, you really are playing catch-up for the rest of the year. Going into last year, a few of us hadn't done pre-seasons and we never really got fit.

"The guys that got injured this year are fit - they're flying."

The event will raise money for families of premature and sick babies who lose their fight for survival.

West Coast have made five changes for tonight. Sam Butler, Scott Lycett and Josh Hill will play their first games for the year.

Geelong have named a strong line-up thanks to the returning Corey Enright and Taylor Hunt.

Kerr predicted the Eagles would come up short in their first major test for the year.

"Luke Shuey's arguably their most important player," he said.

"Chris Masten would be in their top five as well, but I think the Eagles, from what they're showing, are top-four material."

Kerr, a father of two, was speaking during a promotion for the Miracle Babies Foundation charity golf day at Mt Lawley Golf Club.


  • LADDER *
    P W L D For Agst PC Pts
    West Coast 3 3 - - 340 157 216.6 12
    Hawthorn 3 3 - - 366 256 143.0 12
    Geelong 3 3 - - 299 225 132.9 12
    Essendon 3 2 1 - 323 207 156.0 8
    Port Adelaide 3 2 1 - 337 257 131.1 8
    GWS 3 2 1 - 266 209 127.3 8
    Fremantle 3 2 1 - 282 222 127.0 8
    Gold Coast 3 2 1 - 240 217 110.6 8
    St Kilda 3 2 1 - 221 222 99.6 8
    N Melbourne 3 2 1 - 240 243 98.8 8
    Sydney 3 1 2 - 270 259 104.2 4
    Richmond* 3 1 2 - 265 273 97.1 4
    Collingwood* 3 1 2 - 211 272 77.6 4
    W Bulldogs 3 1 2 - 223 315 70.8 4
    Carlton 3 - 3 - 230 356 64.6 -
    Brisbane 3 - 3 - 220 346 63.6 -
    Adelaide 3 - 3 - 225 380 59.2 -
    Melbourne 3 - 3 - 128 270 47.4 -

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