Eagles set for Selwood boost
Adam Selwood. Pic: Bill Hatto/WA News

Scott Selwood is expected to be rushed back for his first game in three months on Sunday as West Coast’s finals hopes go on the line against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.

The 24-year-old’s bid to return this season appears to have paid off. He has trained strongly over the past fortnight.

The Eagles vice-captain looms as one of four inclusions, with Nic Naitanui (Achilles), Elliot Yeo (broken hand) and Xavier Ellis (AC joint) all listed to have fitness tests for the season-defining match.

Selwood has not played since being sent for ankle surgery immediately after the round-12 loss to Hawthorn in Launceston.

His inclusion will be pivotal to winning the battle against Gold Coast’s talented midfield, particularly with tagger Mark Hutchings ruled out for one week with a hamstring strain.

Selwood, the 2012 club champion, was put through rigorous agility testing last week.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson said he expected the midfielder to play.

“He did a really big session on Saturday,” Simpson told Channel 7 last night. “It was a game simulation and I’d expect him to be available.”

Defender Eric Mackenzie said Selwood would be a “very handy addition” around stoppages.

Selwood has used his time on the sidelines to build muscle in the gym. The bulk he has added to his 85kg frame was noticeable at recent training sessions.

Simpson said the midfielder had put on 4-5kg.

“He’s huge at the moment,” Simpson said. “He’s an animal and he wants to play.”

Yeo has emerged from the rehabilitation group after overcoming a broken hand sustained against Gold Coast in round 13.

Mackenzie said 2014 would be viewed as a successful year if the Eagles beat Gold Coast and made the finals.

They also need league leaders Sydney to end Richmond’s run at ANZ Stadium on Saturday and Hawthorn to handle Collingwood at the MCG on Friday night to sneak into eighth spot.

A massive percentage-boosting win by Adelaide over St Kilda at Adelaide Oval on Sunday is the one other scenario that could end the Eagles’ September hopes.

West Coast will face Fremantle or Port Adelaide in a first-week elimination final if they scrape into the top eight.

“We’re a chance to beat either side, I think,” Mackenzie said.

“They’ve both been good all year, but the way we’ve played the second half of the year — probably the last five or six games — has really shown that’s the kind of footy we want to play and I reckon we can do some damage in finals with that.”

The West Australian

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