Eagles chase big scalp
Luke Shuey. Picture: Getty

West Coast are confident Luke Shuey will play against Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday, despite the key on-baller missing training yesterday.

The Eagles are desperate to claim their first big scalp of the season, with all of their four wins coming against teams in the bottom eight.

Shuey has been targeted this season and is likely to draw the attention of Magpies stopper Brent Macaffer in the crunch clash.

But the 23-year-old Victorian was the only notable absentee from yesterday morning's open session at a rain-soaked Patersons Stadium.

It is understood Shuey was being rested due to his training loads, even though players have just come off a four-day break for the bye.

Shuey has missed only one game this season - the round-four match against Geelong - due to suspension, but was substituted in the round-one win over the Western Bulldogs with calf soreness.

Shuey's presence in the midfield will be vital against Collingwood, where he can work at the feet of Nic Naitanui, whose new deal will be announced by the club in the next day or two.

West Coast are likely to take a cautious approach with Shuey given he managed just 14 games last season and battled persistent hamstring injuries late in the year.

West Coast last beat Collingwood at the MCG in round two, 1995 when Jason Ball booted four goals in a four-point win.

The visitors will be without star forward Mark LeCras, who has to serve a one-match ban for his high bump on Greater Western Sydney's Will Hoskin-Elliott.

Coach Adam Simpson told 6PR on Monday night he was considering a range of options to replace LeCras.

Simpson said he was looking at both tall and small replacements.

Scott Lycett, Callum Sinclair, Jeremy McGovern, Josh Hill and Simon Tunbridge are all in the frame and trained strongly yesterday.

Hill kicked 64 goals in his first two years at the Eagles, but has struggled to gain favour under Simpson. He was dropped after West Coast's round-five loss to Port Adelaide after managing just two goals and 20 disposals in two matches.

LeCras did not join in the full-ground match simulation at the end of the session, instead completing a gruelling running program away from teammates.

Simpson said there would be a major focus on the Eagles' start against the Pies, particularly coming off the bye.

Gold Coast and North Melbourne were the only winners of the six teams coming off the bye at the weekend.

"I find that when we're not in that zone to start with, we spend so much time trying to get back on track that we get halfway through that third (quarter) and towards the last and we drop away," Simpson said.

The West Australian

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