Wilson in frame for Eagles defence
Wilson in frame for Eagles defence

Blayne Wilson has emerged as a strong candidate to take the place of injured defender Mitch Brown against Sydney, a match which could extinguish the Eagles' faint hopes of playing finals this season.

Wilson was one of eight regular WAFL players held out of last night's Foxtel Cup semifinal who trained with the main group yesterday in the lead-up to Sunday's clash with the Swans at Patersons Stadium.

Scott Lycett and Callum Sinclair will both be a chance to play as part of the club's ruck rotation, with Dom Sheed, Jacob Brennan, Simon Tunbridge, Ash Smith and rookie Will Maginness the others in contention.

Brown will miss with bone bruising to his right knee, but the Eagles could make more changes, coach Adam Simpson singling out Andrew Gaff and Sam Butler for discussions at training yesterday.

Gaff was on light duties. It is believed the young midfielder is pulling up sore after games.

Butler has been used as the substitute in two of the past three weeks.

Brown's injury, coupled with the retirement of Darren Glass last month, have left West Coast with gaps in their defence for the daunting clash with the premiership favourites.

The Swans boast two of the game's most damaging forwards in Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett, who have dominated defensive units far stronger than the Eagles' this season.

After a slow start to the year, Franklin has recaptured his best form and kicked 40 goals in 13 games. Tippett has struggled with injuries, but still averages close to three goals per match.

The Eagles have flagged using young forward Jeremy McGovern as cover in defence, but would be hesitant to rob their forward line, given he has kicked 10 goals in the past four games.

Wilson played the first seven games of his career in the back half of last season and has been steady in defence for East Perth this year despite missing four weeks with a broken thumb.

The 22-year-old played his best game for the Royals before last week's bye, amassing 27 disposals in a win over Claremont, and has been used as a third tall in the past, even though he is 188cm.

Eric Mackenzie and Will Schofield are likely to be called on to combat Tippett and Franklin, leaving Wilson to guard one of Sam Reid or Adam Goodes. Did you know? 40 How many goals Lance Franklin has booted for the Swans since arriving from Hawthorn

The West Australian

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