WEST Coast is up for the fight but struggling to get off the injury "hamster wheel" after an important win against St Kilda was soured by a left hamstring injury to star forward Liam Ryan.
The Eagles lost Ryan to what they hoped was a standard hamstring injury in the first quarter on Saturday, compounding the recent loss of captain Luke Shuey as setbacks continue to besiege the club.
Coach Adam Simpson said the gritty eight-point win had shown the team was prepared to scrap when needed, hanging on under pressure in a final quarter surge from the Saints.
"It's four points and it keeps us in the eight still. It looks like we're up for the fight. That's what it looks like," Simpson said.
"It is hard to get off that hamster wheel when you have players returning and then you lose a couple.
"The match fitness and synergy and connectivity with our group just hasn't been as pure as perhaps it has been in the past … we need to keep fighting on."
Asked about the severity of Ryan's injury, which came as he kicked the second goal of the match after a hot start, Simpson said: "Early stages it's not terrible, but it sounds like it might just be your standard hamstring. Until we get the scans we're just guessing."
The coach said the Eagles would look into the injury plague that has claimed several stars this season, including Ryan, Shuey, Elliot Yeo, Tim Kelly and Jeremy McGovern.
The coach praised his senior players, including Jack Darling and Jamie Cripps, who stepped up at crucial times on Saturday and have each rebounded in the past two weeks from quiet patches.
"It hasn’t been an issue for us internally, we’ve always backed them in," Simpson said.
"I thought today there were little periods of players who just really dominated for us at stages.
"Tim Kelly’s second quarter, Nic (Naitanui) for most of the day, Darling, (Josh) Kennedy, (Shannon) Hurn doing some really good things down back.
"So our leaders were really resilient, and Dom Sheed standing up in the second half, Yeo looks like he’s back to his best."
The coach said he had watched young St Kilda forward Max King dominate the air hoping his defenders would spoil instead of trying to mark against the six-goal star.
Saints coach Brett Ratten said King's performance was a "snapshot of what he's capable of" and should give the 21-year-old some confidence.
"Hopefully that's a real breakout game for him. We know he's talented and he's a focal point," the coach said.
"It's self-belief for him. These moments though your career are an energy boost and confidence to go from there.
"There is a bit of self-belief that you belong and what you can do in the game."
EAGLES v SAINTS Full match coverage and stats
Ratten said the Saints had adjusted late to kick long and direct to King knowing he was in rare marking form, taking eight contested grabs for the match.
The coach it was a frustrating team performance otherwise, knowing the Saints had their chances but hurt themselves with skill errors and lost their strength at stoppages.
"You're not going to win every battle, but we fight to the death. For us to be in with a chance with a few minutes to go to win the game, that was pleasing," he said.
Ruckman Rowan Marshall will fly home on Tuesday after spending the week isolating in Perth at a rental house due to quarantine requirements, with the 25-year-old expected to play against Carlton next week.