The West Coast Eagles have taken a savage hit on the eve of the Wizard Home Loans Cup with new key forward Brad Smith going down with a what appears to be a serious knee injury
Smith flew for a mark just five minutes into the season-opening intra-club practice match at Bovell Oval in Busselton, but couldn’t move after landing and was taken from the ground on a stretcher.
West Coast took the 25 year old at no.57 in last year’s National Bank’s AFL Draft after he kicked more than 100 goals for WAFL premiers, Subiaco.
He will undergo scans in Perth on Saturday, but early indications from club officials are that it is likely to be a season-ending injury.
West Coast coach John Worsfold said afterwards that other than the injury to Smith, which he described as a ‘tragedy’, the club had achieved its goals for the game.
“Yeah, I thought we got everything we wanted out of the game – it was a really good hit-out for all the players,” he said.
“I think they looked sharp and they looked ready to step up next week.”
Brownlow medallist Chris Judd sat out the first of the three 17-minute terms but looked good thereafter and ran out the game strongly in the midfield, while Daniel Kerr and Phil Matera ran water all day.
Andrew Embley was his usual classy self, Drew Banfield provided good run off half-back, Rowan Jones got some good touches forward, Dean Cox was his usual solid self in the ruck up against Mark Seaby and youngster Daniel McConnell got plenty of the ball.
Father/son draftee Mitch Morton would have gladdened the hearts of West Coast faithful as he took the first grab of the game and generally looked as though he had plenty of time, while Ashley Sampi took a couple of good marks and kicked well.
Another bonus was that Michael Gardiner, who was well held by rookie Jaymie Graham, came through unscathed after missing most of last season with a posterior cruciate ligament.
Just when we get a full foward knee injury