West Coast coach Adam Simpson rues Eagles ‘hamster-wheel’ injury plague after win over Saints

Headshot of Craig O'Donoghue
Craig O'DonoghueThe West Australian
Email Craig O'Donoghue
VideoWest Coast have lost star Liam Ryan in the clash with St Kilda.

West Coast’s eight-point win over St Kilda at Optus Stadium has come at a price with star forward Liam Ryan joining the injury list and expected to be sidelined for three weeks.

The Eagles followed up last week’s win over Adelaide with a 14.10 (94) to 13.8 (86) win but lost Ryan to a hamstring injury after he kicked a goal midway through the first quarter.

West Coast’s have battled injuries all year and rarely got their best players on the field together.

Coach Adam Simpson said the run of soft tissue injuries was difficult to stop mid-year.

“It sounds like it might be just a standard hamstring (for Ryan),” Simpson said.

“It is hard to get off that hamster wheel when you’re starting to get players returning and then you lose a couple. Then the match fitness and synergy and connectivity with our group hasn’t been as pure as perhaps it hasn’t been in the past.

“We’re not alone. A lot of clubs go through it. It’s really hard to get out of it. You need to have two or three weeks of clean, no injuries to get everyone up to speed.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Liam Ryan of the Eagles heads to the rooms with an injury during the round 19 AFL match between West Coast Eagles and St Kilda Saints at Optus Stadium on July 24, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Camera IconLiam Ryan injured his hamstring early in the match. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

“We just haven’t seemed to be able to do that. But that’s the game.

“We need to keep fighting on. It’s great exposure for our younger players. If we keep winning, hopefully we can get everyone back before the end of the year.

“We’ve got to look into it I suppose. It’s a double six-day break.

“With the pre-season, a lot of our A-graders had significant time off during the off-season so they come back mid-season. I think it’s harder than ever to come back from a long-term injury and hit the ground running.”

West Coast set up the win with six goals in the second term, Dom Sheed dominant in the midfield and both Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling combining for six goals. The win kept the Eagles in seventh place ahead of their next clash against Collingwood.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Max King of the Saints marks the ball against Josh Rotham of the Eagles during the round 19 AFL match between West Coast Eagles and St Kilda Saints at Optus Stadium on July 24, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Camera IconSt Kilda forward Max King was unstoppable in the air. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Max King was outstanding for St Kilda with six goals from eight contested marks in a break out performance.

“It was a great display from a young forward,” St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said.

“We know he has talent. He still has work to do. That was a snapshot of what he’s capable of. He’s going to be a very good player

“That should give him some confidence, to get that many shots on goal and converting. Just his aerial stuff was very good.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails