WEST Coast will sweat on Brad Sheppard's scans in the coming days after the important defender went down with a nasty-looking hamstring strain in the opening quarter of a pulsating 16-point qualifying final victory over Collingwood.

Sheppard injured his left hamstring 20 minutes into the clash at Optus Stadium after he was pushed off balance while kicking the ball out of mid-air.

EAGLES SOAR INTO PRELIM Full match coverage and stats 

The durable 27-year-old, who has not missed a game since 2014, immediately grabbed high on his left hamstring and was taken to the rooms, with his night over.

Speaking post-match, Eagles coach Adam Simpson was unsure how severe Sheppard's injury is but backed his squad to cover the gun lock-down backman's absence, with Will Schofield the likely replacement for their home preliminary final in two weeks' time.

WATCH Three moments that mattered

If Sheppard's hamstring is only a standard injury, he would still be pushing it to be fit even if the Eagles made the Grand Final, with most strains taking at least 21 days to rehabilitate. 

"Unfortunately, 'Shep' might miss a game, he might miss a couple," Simpson said.  

"The look in his eye (post-match), he was pretty disappointed personally that he couldn't contribute and that he might potentially miss another game coming up."

EVERY EAGLE RATED How did they perform? 

Sheppard has enjoyed an outstanding season as a critical member of the Eagles' back six, often locking down on the opposition's most dangerous small forward. 

He started Saturday night's qualifying final opposed to NAB AFL Rising Star Jaidyn Stephenson, also spending time opposed to Jordan De Goey before injury struck.  

YOU CAN'T KEEP KENNEDY DOWN Five things we learned

In his absence, young backman Tom Cole was thrust into a deep defensive role on De Goey and peformed well, earning the praise of skipper Shannon Hurn.

"If you don't quite plan for that, and I reckon if you don't expect some things to happen it can be hard to adjust," skipper Shannon Hurn said.  

"But as a playing group I think we understand different roles.

"Tommy Cole did a fantastic job going and playing deep in the goalsquare but he understands how to do it.

"That's all through his preparation during the week."