WEST Coast is unsure whether small forward Liam Ryan will line up against Collingwood on Sunday as the premiership goalkicker deals with a personal tragedy.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson confirmed that Ryan had a connection with an eight-year-old boy who was killed after being struck by a truck near Mandurah in Western Australia on Wednesday.
Ryan was away from the Eagles on Thursday to deal with the loss and Simpson said the club would support the 2018 flag winner.
"There is a connection there and obviously that's a private matter that we have the utmost respect for. He's dealing with that at the moment and it's tragic news for everyone, but to be connected to it our heart goes out to Liam and his family," Simpson said.
"Obviously it's a private issue and he'll deal with that the best way he can and we're here to support."
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Simpson said Ryan, who has played every game this season and booted nine goals, would be given time to inform the club if he would face the Magpies.
"I don't know, that will be his call. We'll see how he feels in the next couple of days and how he is mentally and physically," Simpson said.
"We'll back him either way. Whatever he needs to do, he'll do."
Eagles captain Luke Shuey will return for the clash with the Magpies from his hamstring strain but Brendon Ah Chee will miss with a back injury.
After three straight wins to get their season back on track, the contest with Collingwood looms as a litmus test for the Eagles' improvement – both from external views and inside the club.
The Eagles have beaten Sydney, Adelaide and Fremantle comfortably in the past three weeks but Simpson acknowledged how his side fares against premiership fancies Collingwood will give West Coast a better idea of its place in the competition's pecking order.
"That's a fair assumption [and that's] no disrespect to the teams we've played in the last three weeks," he said.
"We had to play a lot better than we did in the Port Adelaide game (in round four) and I think we've gradually improved and we're building towards hopefully a sustainable brand that stands up against anyone.
"The way we've gone about it the last three weeks has been pleasing for me. Sometimes you win games based on talent or experience, but I think our system has evolved with the season and it will get tested fully this week."