AAP AFL

Eagles’ Hutchings to miss start of finals

By AAP Newswire

West Coast tagger Mark Hutchings will miss the start of the AFL finals series with a hamstring injury.

Hutchings is expected to miss about three weeks of action after injuring his left hamstring in last week's six-point loss to Richmond.

It is the same hamstring Hutchings injured earlier this season and means he will miss at least the first week of the AFL finals.

Wingman Chris Masten is set to be recalled in place of Hutchings for Saturday night's clash with Hawthorn at Optus Stadium.

"Hutchy's a big loss. He plays a big role for us. It hurts us," Eagles defender Jeremy McGovern said.

"But we've got boys in the WAFL coming through. Masto has played a similar role in a way."

McGovern says the vibe remains good at the club despite their top-two fate falling out of their hands.

The Eagles could finish anywhere from first to fifth on the table depending on results in the final round.

Last week's heartbreaking loss to Richmond means West Coast need to beat Hawthorn and have another result fall their way to finish in the top two.

If Geelong lose to Carlton on Saturday or Richmond thrash Brisbane on Sunday, a top-two berth will be there for the taking for West Coast.

But even if neither of those results fall their way, West Coast will at least guarantee themselves a top-four berth with victory over Hawthorn.

The Hawks need to beat West Coast and rely on the Bulldogs losing to Adelaide in order to sneak into eighth spot.

McGovern said although West Coast fell just short against Richmond at the MCG last week, the way they played was a big tick.

"The vibe's good. We took a lot of confidence out of the weekend," McGovern said.

"We didn't get the result, but we played hard. It was a contested brand and the boys were cracking in all day.

"We had a few minor hiccups here or there, but other than that we played well.

"It's not as much about the result, it's how we played. Win or lose we like to look at it that way."

Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui will continue to ramp up his training loads over the next fortnight in a bid to prove his own fitness in time for the finals.

Naitanui hasn't played since suffering a syndesmosis ankle injury in round 17, but his recovery to date has been impressive.

Hawthorn forward Jarryd Roughead won't make the trip to Perth after formally announcing his immediate retirement.