After a horror run with player availability last year, the Eagles have lost Luke Shuey, Jeremy McGovern, Liam Ryan (all hamstring), Alex Witherden (concussion), Jamie Cripps (ankle), and Campbell Chesser (knee) to ailments during their 41 point Western Derby loss to Fremantle.
Former Eagles great Peter Sumich says he has no sympathy for his former club.
Sumich told Sports Breakfast impact injuries like Cripps’ could not be helped, but questioned the club’s preseason program.
“To be honest with you, I don’t feel sorry for them,” Sumich said. “I think the club has erred the last two years and it’s caught up with them. They’ve put a lot of pressure on these players over this preseason and you’re seeing that the hamstrings are now starting to come into play, calves with Yeo, muscle injuries, and that’s what happens when you put a lot of pressure on the players.
“You’ve got to go down the path of what was the club doing two years ago, the last two preseasons.”
Sumich said the injury crisis can create opportunities for the club’s young players.
“That’s where they’ve got to go, and it’s probably something they should’ve started anyway last year a bit more,” he said.
“Hopefully (Brady) Hough and those type of players get a game now, and you’ve got to expose them. They’re going to go through some pain.
“You’ve still got to be careful that you don’t go down a path of losing by ten goals every week, that’s not on either. As much as you’ve got to play the kids, you’ve got to have the system in place to make sure you’re looking after them as well.”
The Derby winners Fremantle will look to keep their momentum going on the road against Adelaide, but Sumich tipped the Crows to come out on top.
“I’m not convinced just at the moment with Fremantle. If they win this game, I think there will be a lot of people that start to get back on the bandwagon,” he said.
“I think they’ve got to win this game, it’s very important for them. It’s an important game for Adelaide because they’re 1-2 as well, so both sides can jump to 2-2 (which would) be a great start, really.
“I’m only leaning towards Adelaide slightly because of the home ground advantage, that’s all. If this was played at Optus, I’d be going Fremantle.”
The Dockers clash with Adelaide begins at 11:45 am tomorrow, while the Eagles will host a red-hot Melbourne at 3:20 pm on Sunday.
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