The race is on for West Coast’s captaincy and a battered Josh Kennedy will be given first crack at auditioning for the top job.
Kennedy will skipper the side in Saturday’s AFL clash with Gold Coast at Patersons Stadium after Thursday’s announcement by Darren Glass of his immediate retirement.
Coach Adam Simpson will rotate the captaincy for the rest of the year before deciding on a full-time replacement, with Kennedy, Scott Selwood, Matt Priddis, Shannon Hurn and Eric Mackenzie all in the mix.
“They’re all pretty close in terms of where they’re at in their careers and I think they’re all looking forward to the challenge of spreading the load,” Simpson said on Friday.
“The pressures of leading and performing are what we need to put our players through.
“So we’ll find out a bit about our leadership and how they handle tossing the coin and doing the pre-match talk and speaking in front of the media.
“It’s something some aren’t all that comfortable with, but they’ll learn and grow and we’ll find out more by the end of the year.”
Kennedy underwent surgery on a fractured cheekbone last week, but has been cleared to take on the Suns.
Glass hung up his boots after failing to overcome nagging hip and ankle injuries.
West Coast are keen to avoid a similar situation with champion ruckman Dean Cox, whose run of 104 consecutive games will end this week after being given a rest.
Cox is yet to decide whether to play on next year, but the Eagles are keen to manage his workloads better to get the best out of him.
“We just think he has been a little bit off with his performance and he looks physically tired,” Simpson said.
“But the week off may do him wonders.”
The Eagles dropped Sharrod Wellingham for the second time this year, Simpson not satisfied with the output of the former Collingwood midfielder.
“We have a few players at the moment who aren’t playing at their full capacity, so he is one of them,” Simpson said.
“The week before, he was poor and it has been a build-up over a few weeks.
“I am not writing him off; it is just a part of his learning.”
The Eagles (4-7) face an uphill battle to make the finals after losing seven of their past eight games.
Eighth-placed Gold Coast (7-4) are looking a tad shaky following two straight losses, but have been given a major boost with star midfielder Harley Bennell re-signing for a further three years.