Cripps chat sparks derby fears
Cripps chat sparks derby fears

Jamie Cripps is no certainty to play in Saturday's western derby, with a run of modest form and a leg complaint casting doubt on the West Coast goalsneak's spot.

The 22-year-old was on light duties and spent time talking to the team's medical staff about a suspected right-leg injury during yesterday's open training session at Patersons Stadium.

Conversely, veteran Dean Cox trained strongly ahead of a guaranteed derby recall.

Cox, 32, completed the full one-hour session after being rested for West Coast's past two matches and was still working alongside the team's fringe players after all but a handful of West Coast's regular team had left the track.

He practised his contested marking directly opposed to understudy Scott Lycett, who could be asked to make way for the six-times All-Australian despite the youngster coming off his best fortnight at AFL level.

Cripps had hands on hips as he spent more than five minutes in a one-on-one discussion with coach Adam Simpson midway through the session.

He left the field soon after the conversation.

A similar on-field exchange took place between Cox and Simpson just 48 hours before the senior ruckman was officially rested for the club's round-13 win over Gold Coast earlier this month.

Cripps has played every game this year and sits third on West Coast's goal-kicking tally with 18 majors, behind Josh Kennedy (33) and Jack Darling (21).

He had booted at least a goal in each of the Eagles' first 10 games following a strong pre-season campaign. Two of those came in the round-seven derby and helped keep West Coast in the match until half-time.

However, Cripps' form has dropped away in recent weeks, with just one goal in the past three matches, which leaves him vulnerable.

Josh Hill trained strongly yesterday and would be the most likely replacement after kicking two goals in a lively first half for East Perth last Saturday.

West Coast's ability to make the most of their forward chances will be critical to ending a four-game losing derby run.

Patrick McGinnity is pressing for his first senior game this season after 30 disposals at East Perth. Simon Tunbridge is another option after booting five goals from his past two matches.

The West Australian

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