WEST Coast will use the final rounds of the season to experiment with players in different positions with its senior midfielders among those who could be set for a shake-up, according to coach Adam Simpson. 

The Eagles have learned plenty about their young stocks this season through an availability crisis that forced them to use every available player on their list. 

But their established players could now be shifted into different roles as part of the rebuilding process, Simpson said, to make sure the final rounds of the season are productive.   

"Exploring guys in different positions is something we have to look at, and not just for first-gamers but also guys who perhaps need to look at something different with their careers as well," the coach said.

Adam Simpson looks on during West Coast's clash with Carlton in round 17, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"Those opportunities will come. We'll try a few different things in the next month or so that will be different in terms of positioning … but respecting the game as well and respecting what we're trying to do." 

Simpson said the Eagles had recently started to reintroduce key defender Tom Barrass to some forward line training but had to abandon that move due to Jeremy McGovern's season-ending rib injury. 

Tom Barrass in action during West Coast's clash with Hawthorn in round 18, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The coach said moving senior midfielders into new roles would now necessarily be done to clear space for young talent to take on more responsibility at the coalface.

"It's probably more so we can explore them in a different role and see what it looks like," Simpson said.  

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"We do have some strains on our availability, so sometimes we might have more mids available than forwards. Those sorts of things force us to do different things. 

"But I reckon we'll have a go at looking at some different avenues over the next month or so and see what it looks like."

Simpson said midfielder Tim Kelly had "pulled up well and should be fine" to face St Kilda at Optus Stadium after suffering a corked quad against Hawthorn last Sunday.   

Star ruckman Nic Naitanui looks unlikely to return from a knee injury this week, but Simpson said they weren't ready to rule him out for the season to fast-track his preparation for 2023. 

Nic Naitanui competes with Jack Silvagni during West Coast's clash with Carlton in round 17, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"If he's fit and available, he wants to play, and I can't see why we wouldn't play him. We wouldn't put him at any risk if that's the question you're asking," he said.

"We'll make the right call for him. But we're not packing up and going home right now. There's still five rounds to play. If these guys are available, in particular Nic and Elliot Yeo, I think it's good for them to play."

St Kilda will be without ruckman Paddy Ryder, with the Eagles still working on their plans to support Bailey Williams against Rowan Marshall. 

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Callum Jamieson is a chance to play after being substituted as a precaution with an adductor issue against the Hawks. 

Callum Jamieson and Nick Bryant face off, West Coast v Essendon, R15, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Simpson expected the 10th-placed Saints to be "fierce" as their season goes on the line after a poor six weeks that has seen them win just one game and slide from as high as fourth.  

The premiership coach watched vision of Saints boss Brett Ratten addressing his players during the week and said it was an indication they would be at their best on Sunday.

"It will be game on. I'm sure Ratts has been disappointed at stages over the last five, six weeks, and the expectations are high [that] they've put on themselves," Simpson said.  

"I saw that vision. Coaches go through that, teams go through it, it's all part of your leadership and how you get the best out of your players. 

"We're anticipating them at their absolute best this week and so are our players. Can we sustain and handle them and match that? That's our challenge."