You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Eagles back Wellingham after AFL shocker

AAP logoAAP 25/07/2016 By Justin Chadwick

West Coast midfielder Andrew Gaff is confident Sharrod Wellingham will bounce back from last week's shocker, saying the former Pie will make amends in Saturday's AFL clash with Collingwood at the MCG.

Wellingham committed a series of horror turnovers in West Coats's six-point win over Melbourne in Perth.

His shanked kick-in that gifted Melbourne a goal infuriated coach Adam Simpson so much that he gave the 28-year-old a spray at three-quarter time.

Wellingham is usually one of West Coast's best ball users, but the heavy cork he copped late in the first quarter may have affected his kicking.

Gaff said he and his teammates retained full faith in Wellingham's skillset.

"He's one of our bravest ball users, and he tries to do kicks that probably some guys wouldn't do," Gaff said on Monday.

"But most of the time they come off and look great.

"Then there's days on the weekend when they don't come off and it probably doesn't look as good.

"When you're playing in the backline and turn a couple over, it's highlighted a little bit more because it's normally in front of goal.

"But we know he's going to work pretty hard during the week and make amends."

The Eagles are just four percentage points adrift of second spot following a five-match winning run.

But their form has been scratchy in the past two weeks, and Gaff admits they were lucky to come away with a win against Melbourne.

The absence of ruckman Nic Naitanui has left a huge void in the midfield, but the 2012 All-Australian is a chance to return against the Magpies.

Naitanui, who underwent surgery last month to address Achilles tendon soreness, is back in full training and needs to pull up well from the next few sessions if he is to be given the green light to face Collingwood.

"It's 50-50 and a coach's call as to whether he plays this week or next week," Gaff said.

"He's been flying around in a few of the drills we were doing last week."

West Coast lost the inside-50m count 66-37 against the Demons.

The looming return of Naitanui will help West Coast address a few problem areas, but Gaff said it wouldn't fix everything.

"There's no hiding around we're probably not playing our best footy at the moment," Gaff said.

Midfielder Dom Sheed, who has been grounded most of the year by pectoral and knee issues, is a chance to return to AFL ranks after making it through his fourth successive WAFL game unscathed.

Defender Will Schofield is also available for selection after being rested last week.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon