Eagles’ bizarre mind games over star
HONEST mistake or not - West Coast has sent the footy world into meltdown over the fitness of star defender Jeremy McGovern.
The key tall remains an uncertain starter for the Eagles in Saturday's blockbuster grand final against Collingwood - and his brief scratching from the AFL grand final parade on Friday was enough to send rumours flying.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson has admitted his star needs to prove his fitness in the team's Friday afternoon training session as he continues to nurse a hip injury.
The Eagles earlier this week also had to deny rumours McGovern has been carrying a broken rib.
Simpson said McGovern has not trained all week - but the man himself declared he is ready to go.
McGovern made a dramatic late entry to the AFL grand final parade and send he is "100 per cent" ready to play against the Pies.
The 26-year-old admitted he almost didn't make the parade - again setting tongues wagging across the footy world.
Reporters documented the moment McGovern's name was removed from his parade vehicle - before it was put back on moments later.
Whether it is a true indication of whether he will play on Saturday - or if it was simply a mind game executed perfectly by the Eagles remains to be seen.
Simpson stopped short of guaranteeing McGovern will play against the Pies - and left his inclusion up in the air when asked before the parade.
"Today is a big day for him, we are doing a lot of testing with him," Simpson said.
"It's something we have left to today to get through.
"He is getting better every minute really so we anticipate he will play, we just want to tick a few boxes today."
Simpson said All Australian McGovern hadn't trained this week after copping a severe bump to a hip flexor muscle in the preliminary final. And the Eagles coach admitted he had never been certain that McGovern would front against the Magpies.
"I don't think I was extremely confident, I was extremely hopeful," he said.
"Someone like Gov, he just gets up. It's just making sure it's up enough to play in a grand final.
"I think he will be close to 100 per cent ... (but) I won't say it's not an issue."
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said his planning was centred on McGovern proving his fitness.
"We're preparing for him to be 100 per cent fit and playing," Buckley told reporters on Friday.
The Eagles will have their last training session later Friday after participating in the traditional grand-final parade through the streets of inner-Melbourne.
Both grand finalists named unchanged teams for the season finale with Buckley resisting any temptation to recall Ben Reid and unable to consider versatile Darcy Moore, who hasn't played for two months because of a hamstring injury.
"Darcy wasn't passed fit by the medical staff, it's an unacceptable risk for us to take into such big a game," Buckley said.
- with AAP