All-Australian Elliot Yeo won’t be available to face North Melbourne in the first game of the AFL season. The West Coast Eagles star suffered a calf injury and is out of contention for the season-opener. However, according to the Eagles’ coaching staff, he should be back in action soon.
The Eagles Reluctant to Risk Players Returning from Injury
Football manager Gavin Bell said that the club were taking a zero-risk approach and weren’t willing to gamble on a player who has only recently come back from a long-term injury. Bell said they were aware that fielding players like Yeo, who were returning from injuries, won’t be easy, especially as they were now expected to play regular senior football.
However, he was encouraged by Yeo’s terrific pre-season and said the team were optimistic their star player was experiencing “a minor speed bump” and would be back playing soon.
The dual All-Australian has been battling one injury after another in the past few years and had to deal with everything from a groin strain to soft tissue injuries. He only played five times last year and appeared in just 27 games over the past three seasons.
Elliot Yeo’s dynamic midfield performances in pre-season allowed the Eagles to move captain Luke Shuey to half-back and they were hoping they would be able to continue to rotate Yeo and Shuey through half-back.
However, with Yeo unavailable, the game plan for the season-opener will have to change, and players like Tim Kelly and Dom Sheed will have to deal with increased responsibility in midfield.
Local Reuben Gibney, who was selected as pick 9 in the first round of the 2022 AFL Draft, will make his debut against the North Melbourne Kangaroos on Saturday. The inside midfielder climbed the draft ladder after a magnificent 2022 season with East Perth and Wesley College.