Elliot Yeo celebrates a goal during the R5 match between West Coast and Richmond at Optus Stadium on April 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson is confident Elliot Yeo will turn his back on free agency to remain with the club.

Yeo will become an unrestricted free agent at season's end, and he is a hot commodity following his stunning start to 2024.

The 30-year-old has averaged a career-high 25.1 disposals and 8.1 clearances this season, to go along with five goals.

His combination in the midfield with Harley Reid, Tim Kelly and Reuben Ginbey has helped transform last season's wooden spooners into a competitive outfit.

AFL.com.au's Inside Trading reported last month that clubs were strongly pursuing Yeo, but Simpson is confident the midfield bull will stay.

"I think it's on his desk. It might be in his pigeon hole at the footy club," Simpson quipped when asked about a contract offer for Yeo. 


"We're working through that. From all reports he wants to stay, and we want to keep him, so I'm hoping that's just a matter of time."

West Coast will welcome back Reid, Tom Barrass and Noah Long for Saturday night's clash with Essendon at Optus Stadium, while pick No.49 from last year's draft, Harvey Johnston, has been named for his AFL debut.

Hard-running defender Jayden Hunt has been rested to allow him to recover from a number of niggles.

"He's got a bit of a knee, a bit of a toe, a bit of a back," Simpson said.

"I know we managed Harley last week, and there were conversations about that.

Jayden Hunt in action during West Coast's clash against Gold Coast in round seven, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"But I think that's the way going forward with every team.

"You see a lot of clubs now managing players, whether they're young or old."

Former Sydney and Melbourne coach Paul Roos questioned whether West Coast's decision to rest Reid last week so he could visit family in Victoria was a case of player power going too far.

Roos said if West Coast wanted to truly rest Reid, the 19-year-old should have stayed in Perth to avoid two taxing flights across the country.

"I didn't even know he was in the country," Simpson said when asked about Roos' comments. 


"I'm not sure how much he knows about Harley and what he's going through, but we know a fair bit. I'll back in our staff."

Simpson made the tough decision to send premiership hero Dom Sheed back to the WAFL this week after two quiet displays as the sub.

Sheed missed the start of the season with a foot injury, and Simpson said the 29-year-old needs more game time at WAFL level before breaking back into the senior side.

The Bombers (4-2-1) lost ruckman Sam Draper to knee soreness, but Archie Perkins returns from a hamstring injury.