West Coast players are looking over their shoulders in fear of the selection axe – and it’s just the way coach Adam Simpson likes it.
The Eagles will be aiming to bounce back from last week’s 39-point AFL loss to Sydney when they take on a revitalised Collingwood at Domain Stadium on Sunday.
West Coast have been a dominant force at home over the past year.
But their patchy away form has been a concern, with their most recent win on the road coming in round 16 last season.
Simpson knows his team need to fix their travelling blues if they are to become a genuine premiership contender.
And with the team enjoying a rare good run on the injury front, Simpson has plenty of scope to make changes to his side.
Ruckman Scott Lycett is almost certain to slot straight back in after serving his one-match ban for striking Ty Vickery.
Tom Lamb is pushing hard for a recall after booting five goals in the WAFL last weekend, while midfielder Mark Hutchings is also on the edge of selection.
Fraser McInnes is set to make way for Lycett, while goalsneak Josh Hill is under pressure after booting just three goals from his past four matches.
Simpson will consider making some unforced changes this week in a bid to strengthen the side.
“We don’t want to let these guys go unrewarded when they play well at East Perth,” Simpson told Perth radio station 6PR.
“It should provide a bit of pressure at the senior level. There’s some players in the side now who know there’s pressure coming from underneath.
“I don’t think there’s too many blokes comfortable at the moment.
“There’ll be some guys looking over their shoulder. That’s healthy for the club.”
Collingwood (2-3) bounced back to form with a 69-point trouncing of Essendon on Monday.
The Magpies could be without speedster Travis Varcoe (hamstring) when they head to Perth later this week, while axed forward Travis Cloke is expected to be given another run in the VFL after being dropped for the Bombers game.
Although Collingwood have been patchy this season, Simpson said the confidence gained from their big win over Essendon would make them a dangerous opponent.
“I remember early last year when we beat Port Adelaide away from home – we just got some real belief about what we were doing, and the evidence started to come as well,” Simpson said.
“That’s what Collingwood went through on Monday – they had a really good win on a big occasion.
“I’m sure they’ll take some of that momentum into this week. It’s going to be a real challenge for us.”