West Coast coach Adam Simpson has stopped short of guaranteeing defensive linchpin Jeremy McGovern will play against Collingwood in Saturday’s AFL grand final.
McGovern hurt a hip in last weekend’s preliminary final win against Melbourne and Simpson says the influential backman must pass a fitness test at training on Friday.
“Today is a big day for him, we are doing a lot of testing … with him,” Simpson told reporters.
“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.
“And Darc is understandably shattered with that, the fact that time had run out for him, he hadn’t been able to prove his capacity to get through a game of footy.
“Reidy is a little bit different. He has been up and about for the last couple of weeks, he has been training well.
“We would be confident bringing him into a game but we’re pretty happy with our mix as it stands.”
Reid is among Collingwood’s four grand-final emergencies along with Jarryd Blair, Callum Brown and Flynn Appleby.
West Coast named Oscar Allen, Jackson Nelson, Brayden Ainsworth and Brendon Ah Chee as their emergencies.