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Eagles pair in doubt for NAB Challenge opener

Scott Lycett failed to train fully on Monday after pulling up sore from the intra-club - ${keywords}
Scott Lycett failed to train fully on Monday after pulling up sore from the intra-club

WEST Coast ruckman Scott Lycett and dynamic small forward Jamie Cripps both failed to train on Tuesday and are touch and go for the Eagles' opening NAB Challenge clash against Adelaide on Sunday at Unley Oval.

Lycett and Cripps were restricted to walking laps during the 90-minute session at Domain Stadium after both pulled up sore from the Eagles' intra-club practice match last Saturday. A decision will made later in the week as to whether the pair will travel to Adelaide later this week.

Rookie Simon Tunbridge also walked laps. He was sidelined last week due to a back problem and did not play in the intra-club. He is set to slowly build up his workload again over the next three to four weeks.  

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Jack Redden (adductor) and Dom Sheed (knee) also did not train. Both are still working their way back from pre-Christmas surgery.

The duo trained with the main group for part of last Wednesday's session before doing some running away from the main group. They are striving to be fit for the Eagles' third NAB Challenge clash against Essendon on March 13 at Domain Stadium.

Eagles' coach Adam Simpson said last week it was likely his senior players would be rested from the first NAB Challenge clash to avoid the travel. But he planned to give most of the players in his squad at least two matches ahead of round one. 

If Lycett is unavailable this week and Nic Naitanui is rested then the ruck duties could fall to new recruit Jonathan Giles, Fraser McInnes and Jeremy McGovern.

Simpson said he would use the NAB Challenge to experiment with his ruck combinations after the Eagles traded Callum Sinclair to the Sydney Swans during the off-season. 

McGovern is keen to play in the ruck, having played there as a junior and in the WAFL. Simpson has hinted that McGovern could play as the second ruckman but he has also said that he could be needed in defence at times early in the season as Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown ease their way back from knee reconstructions. 

Mackenzie and Brown have both had terrific summers on the training track and both are ready to play in the NAB Challenge.