OUT-OF-FAVOUR onballer Dom Sheed admits feeling frustrated since losing his spot in West Coast's finals-bound side, but understands what he needs to work on to force his way back.
The 23-year-old's absence over the past month has left many Eagles fans scratching their heads.
Sheed was dropped in round 11 before earning a late reprieve when Luke Shuey failed to overcome his hamstring strain and then starred with 26 touches, seven clearances and a goal against St Kilda.
After the bye he was quiet, finding only 11 disposals in the loss to Sydney at the SCG.
The left-footer was subsequently axed and hasn't been seen at AFL level since, despite some prolific WAFL form.
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"I do know why I'm not playing. I just need to work on finding some touch and just really getting some confidence in my game," Sheed told AFL.com.au.
"That was the messaging from 'Simmo' (coach Adam Simpson) and (midfield assistant) Sam Mitchell and it's good to come back and find some form at East Perth.
"I just need to keep going with my inside craft, stuff I'm doing off the ball - pretty much total footy.
"I'm working really hard on my defensive side, but at the same time I still want to find the footy and have an impact, because that's when I'm playing my best footy.
"It's pleasing to do that."
There have been more inside midfield opportunities at West Coast since Brownlow medallists Matt Priddis and Mitchell retired, but Andrew Gaff and Jack Redden have shouldered more grunt work and Sheed hasn't nailed down his position.
He's averaged nearly 22 disposals and 4.5 clearances in 10 matches, however draftee Brayden Ainsworth and recruit Brendon Ah Chee were preferred recently.
"Every listed player wants to be playing AFL and it can get frustrating at times, but you can only take it one week at a time and do your best," Sheed said.
"When you do come out and play for East Perth you have to really embrace that and play your role, play as well as you can and team footy.
"It's frustrating at times but you get on with it."
Sheed racked up 37 touches with seven inside 50s and a goal in a thumping win over Swan Districts on Saturday, backing up his 34-disposal effort against South Fremantle.
He collected 25 touches in a loss to Claremont in his first game after being dropped.
"He's been really good for us," East Perth coach Luke Webster said.
"His first one back probably wasn't his best game and Dom knew that, but his last couple of performances have been terrific.
"It was great to see him out on the wing too (against Swans) and get some possessions on the outside."
Sheed still might not break into an Eagles outfit which silenced critics and moved into second spot on the ladder with a 35-point triumph over Collingwood at the MCG.
Nathan Vardy looms as a possible inclusion for Nic Naitanui (ACL) against the Bulldogs, if the Eagles decide to retain their two ruckmen set-up.
"Vards had 60-odd hit-outs (against Swans), so he gave us silver service," Sheed said.