West Coast Eagles team: Jake Florenca to debut among eight changes for Brisbane Lions clash
WAFL top-up midfielder Jake Florenca will debut among eight changes for West Coast as the under-siege Eagles suffered a fourth COVID-enforced withdrawal.
Ruckman Luke Strnadica became the latest player who couldn’t be considered and joined the health and safety protocols, joining Greg Clark, Alex Witherden and Jackson Nelson.
The Eagles lost ball-winning trio Luke Shuey (hamstring), Willie Rioli (hamstring) and Xavier O’Neill (knee) to injuries earlier in the week, leading to forced changes to roughly one-third of the line-up that lost to Richmond by 109 points.
West Coast’s defence will be boosted by the returns of Tom Barrass, Luke Foley and Josh Rotham. Jamaine Jones, Isiah Winder and Callum Jamieson round out the inclusions, with Andrew Gaff promoted back into the 22 after starting as last week’s medical substitute.
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THE FULL LINE-UP
Florenca was the only one of the quartet of WAFL players called into the squad to make the final 22, with the Eagles taking an extra day to name their side after being hit hard by COVID and injury outs.
“It’s pretty surreal, to be honest. I’ve supported them my whole life. It’s all happened so fast,” Florenca told The West Australian on Thursday after being called into the travelling squad.
“I think I bring the contested game, I think I can have an impact in the midfield by winning the hard ball.
“It would mean the world (to play AFL). Even it was for just one game or as a medical sub or anything. It’s a childhood dream.”
Florenca will become the 43rd player to line up for West Coast this season.
Ruck/forward Hugh Dixon was dropped despite the Eagles’ bleak situation with availability, joining Declan Mountford, Angus Schumacher and Logan Young as emergencies.
Brisbane lost a player of their own to health and safety protocols, with Darcy Gardiner set to miss.
B: J Rotham T Barrass S Hurn
HB: L Foley J McGovern L Duggan
C: C West T Kelly S Petrevski-Seton
HF: J Jones J Darling J Cripps
F: J Waterman J Kennedy L Ryan
R: H Edwards J Redden A Gaff
IC: I Winder P Naish C Jamieson J Florenca
EMG: H Dixon D Mountford A Schumacher L Young
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