PROOF that the wheel is finally turning for West Coast will come in round 15 when the costliest injury absence in the game finally ends.

Champion Data has graded Eagles captain Luke Shuey's 13 matches lost to two hamstring setbacks as the injuries that have come at the greatest scoreboard cost to a team, driving the Eagles to the top of the number cruncher's official injury ladder after 14 rounds.

The injury ladder uses a formula that calculates more than just pure games lost to injury, going further to assess the quality of players sidelined and the subsequent cost to the team based on their replacements in the 22 each week.

>> CHECK OUT THE FULL INJURY LADDER BELOW

The Eagles have been hit regularly by injuries to their top tier, with Shuey joined on the sidelines by Elliot Yeo (osteitis pubis), Jeremy McGovern (knee), Tim Kelly (knee), Josh Kennedy (ankle), Liam Ryan (shin), Shannon Hurn (calf) and Liam Duggan (knee) at different stages.

Shuey and Yeo's absences are two of the top three injuries with the greatest cost, as ranked by Champion Data. Essendon jet Dylan Shiel, Hawk defender James Sicily and Adelaide midfielder Matt Crouch round out the top five.

McGovern, Hurn, Ryan and Brendon Ah Chee's absences also rank in the season's top 60, laying bare the impact of West Coast's injury problems. 

2021's most costly injuries

1. Luke Shuey (WC) – 81 points
2. Dylan Shiel (Ess) – 70
3. Elliot Yeo (WC) – 69
4. James Sicily (Haw) - 63
5. Matt Crouch – 62

Dylan Shiel after hurting his knee against Port Adelaide in round two. Picture: AFL Photos

On pure games lost, the Eagles rank No.7 on the injury ladder, but on cost to the team they are a clear No.1 ahead of Fremantle, North Melbourne and St Kilda.

The data highlights the extent of West Coast's achievement to remain in the top eight and now be in a position to make a run at the top four as their stars return.

It also highlights a perceived weakness, however, with many of the depth players who have replaced their stars not yet proven, leading to a greater 'scoreboard impact' from the injuries.

"We’re hoping for a bit of luck on the injury front, which every club needs in the back end of the season," Shuey said on Monday.

"But we're under no illusions that just by getting some names on the park is going to completely turn our season around.

"We've had guys buy into their specific roles in the team. Some of the young guys, the improvement they’ve shown in what they've been able to do on game day to help us win against good opposition has been really promising."

Eagles Shannon Hurn and Josh Kennedy after the win over Gold Coast in round one, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

All teams are hit by injuries, and North Melbourne's 137 games lost to injury places it at the top of the list for total games lost, ahead of Fremantle (131), Greater Western Sydney (130) and Carlton (120).

The figures place the Kangaroos' struggles in context, as well as the Giants' and Dockers' inconsistent seasons.

Fremantle and North Melbourne are the only teams to sit top four across all three categories ranked by Champion Data – games lost to injury, games lost to injuries with a cost, and injury cost in scoreboard points. 

While the Blues have been hit hard by injuries, they rank 17th for the scoreboard impact of their setbacks.

Injured Blue David Cuningham is helped by a trainer during the loss to Melbourne in round nine, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Below them is ladder leader Melbourne, which has suffered the fewest injuries with a cost and the lowest total scoreboard impact – 88, compared to the Eagles' 284.

Geelong (106) and Port Adelaide (114) also rank in the bottom four for the total scoreboard impact of their injuries, with good player availability playing a role in their promising campaigns to date.  

The Cats' enviable injury run came to an end in round 14, however, when star midfielder Mitch Duncan suffered a posterior cruciate ligament injury to his right knee, which could sideline him until finals.

Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield also suffered a syndesmosis injury earlier in the year that, combined with a suspension, has restricted him to four games, with the Cats' depth playing a role in the low scoreboard impact of their injuries.

The 2021 injury ladder (to round 14)

 

All Injuries (Games Lost)

Injuries With Cost (Games Lost)

Injury Cost (Scoreboard Points)

Club

Total

Rank

Total

Rank

Total

Rank

West Coast

101

7

71

5

284

1

Fremantle

131

2

73

4

204

2

North Melbourne

137

1

76

3

198

3

St Kilda

101

7

84

1

198

4

GWS

130

3

84

1

187

5

Hawthorn

92

11

56

11

187

6

Collingwood

74

16

42

15

179

7

Richmond

70

17

55

12

170

8

Essendon

109

6

66

7

161

9

Western Bulldogs

94

10

68

6

153

10

Adelaide

101

7

63

8

147

11

Gold Coast

110

5

42

15

132

12

Sydney

63

18

45

13

132

13

Brisbane

92

11

62

9

116

14

Port Adelaide

89

14

45

13

114

15

Geelong

84

15

40

17

106

16

Carlton

120

4

62

9

103

17

Melbourne

91

13

29

18

88

18

CHAMPION DATA DEFINITIONS

All injuries – any player on a club's list who has been unavailable for a match through injury (not suspension).

Injuries with cost – any injury to a player who, based on the AFL Player Ratings, would have been selected in their team if fit.

Injury cost – the AFL Player Ratings cost to the team based on the difference between the injured player and their positional replacement.