Darling focus on Suns, not finals
Jack Darling. Pic: Getty Images

West Coast forward Jack Darling is not allowing himself to think about finals yet, warning the challenge against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Sunday should not be underestimated.

The Eagles continued their march towards an unlikely finals appearance on Saturday night, belting Melbourne by 66 points at Patersons Stadium.

They must now beat the young Suns and have a slice of good fortune elsewhere if they are to sneak into eighth position and a first-week elimination final, against either Fremantle or Port Adelaide.

They need Hawthorn to beat Collingwood on Friday night, Sydney to end Richmond's eight-game winning streak the following day at ANZ Stadium, and hope Adelaide don't blast St Kilda off Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

Even without captain and dual Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett (shoulder), the Suns still boast a potent midfield.

The Eagles could be boosted by the return of Scott Selwood (ankle) and Elliot Yeo (hand).

Nic Naitanui (Achilles) is also likely to come back into the side after he was a late withdrawal against the Demons, possibly at the expense of the retiring Dean Cox, who has played three games in succession.

But in-form tagger Mark Hutchings is in serious doubt after being substituted out of Saturday night's win with an injured right hamstring.

Hutchings will have scans today and said he was "a bit sore" as he headed into the club for recovery yesterday morning.

"Hopefully he's (Hutchings) right for this week, but obviously Scott Selwood is an A-grade player and Yeo, when he was playing at the start of the year, he was one of our best players so it would be pretty good for us to have them back," Darling said.

"Gold Coast have got a lot of young guys that I sort of played with growing up in the State teams, so there are definitely some guns in there so it would be good to get those guys back."

Darling was wary of what Gold Coast could do.

In the past two weeks, the Suns have pushed Port Adelaide and Essendon.

"We have got an eight-day break so we have really got to do what we can to be fresh and ready to attack them," he said.

"I don't think we've played over there before so that will be interesting to see how we go.

"They are a very strong team, and a pretty young team and so are we so it's going to be a good battle. I haven't started to think about finals yet.

"It would be good to play finals, but if we don't win against Gold Coast, don't even worry about it."

Darling booted three first-quarter goals against Melbourne but was inaccurate after that as fellow forwards Mark LeCras and Josh Kennedy both contributed four majors.

"I have just got to work on that (goal kicking) during the week," he said. "That's the difference between having an average game to a great game so I've just got to work on that.

"It's always good to have Lecca in the team. He's so dangerous and very skilful."

Darling said he was enjoying his stints through the midfield, but believed he would predominantly remain a forward.

"They keep it pretty simple with me, just hunt the football and use your body," he said.

"If I'm not getting the ball up forward, I can always have a run in the midfield."

The West Australian

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