At least a dozen West Coast Eagles players hit by ‘severe’ COVID outbreak

Jack Darling looks on mid-match

West Coast has been hit by a severe COVID outbreak on the eve of its trip to Melbourne to face the Kangaroos, with a dozen players ruled out after contracting the virus.

Key points:

  • Coach Adam Simpson said as few as 17 listed players would be available for the weekend
  • The fixture is set to go ahead despite the Eagles expecting further cases in coming days
  • The club will need to rely on state top-up players Simpson has not yet met

The cluster has left the Eagles struggling to field a team, with coach Adam Simpson saying as few as 17 listed players will be available to face North Melbourne on Sunday.

Twelve players who featured in round one against Gold Coast are unavailable for this weekend.

It means the club will have to rely heavily on state league top-up players to field a team.

And West Coast is bracing for more players to test positive in the coming days, having seen the virus spread rapidly around the club.

Simpson said the Eagles would have to hand AFL debuts to players who have never even trained with the team.

Jack Darling looks on mid-match
Jack Darling is expected to play for the Eagles after a long period of refusing a COVID-19 vaccination.(Getty Images: Dylan Burns)

“It is unique but it is just reality.

“There is no point crying about it, we have got to get on with it.”

The AFL has been determined to proceed with games even when clubs are being affected by COVID outbreaks, implementing the top-up system to ensure matches continue.

Simpson said the Eagles were in discussions with the league but expected the game to go ahead.

Author: Ivan Robinson