Luke Shuey leads West Coast out against Adelaide in round 12, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson has backed experienced midfielder Luke Shuey to retain the captaincy in 2023 as the Norm Smith medallist fights to bounce back from an interrupted three seasons. 

Shuey had a better run with injury in 2022 and played 17 games after a disrupted summer, but he managed just 20 across the previous two seasons due to a repeated run of soft tissue injuries. 

The 32-year-old suffered a minor setback last month but has been running strongly in recent sessions, with Simpson backing him to captain the club for a fourth season if he wanted to.  

"I can't see us changing too much. We normally use a player vote, and we'll contribute, but I wouldn't have thought there would be much change," Simpson said. 

"I think he's really keen to get a good pre-season in and get back to the form of a few years ago. That's his next goal. 

"It's still there, I can see it and I can see the way he trains. We'll see how he goes in the new year."

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Shuey, who won the Eagles' best and fairest in 2019 before his run of injuries, needed to be pulled back after his recent return to training but has since re-joined the main group for football drills. 

The Eagles are also managing premiership midfielder Elliot Yeo's fitness after a recent calf niggle, which comes after a 2022 season severely interrupted by multiple calf injuries and a hamstring setback. 

Elliot Yeo with ice on his hamstring during West Coast's clash against Richmond in round 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"He's been running for probably a month and he could start training tomorrow, but we're just going to take our time, get to Christmas and hopefully get a really good run at it in the new year," Simpson said. 

"It's so small, but unfortunately it's been reoccurring. We're doing everything we can to get it right."

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Half-forward Jamie Cripps took out the Eagles' 2km time trial on Wednesday morning, with Simpson impressed by the general fitness of his squad after last year's horror run with availability. 

Wingman Andrew Gaff didn't run in Wednesday's trial, while key forward Jack Darling is managing a tight back. 

Andrew Gaff in action for West Coast against Richmond in R16, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

"Everyone looks a little bit leaner from what I can tell, so we'll hopefully get some good numbers on the track, in particular in January and February," Simpson said. 

"Where the game has changed across the competition is there's a lot more time off for the players, which is great for them, and if we handle it well enough as a club then it's great for us well. 

"We get fresh, mentally healthy players. But they've got to control their own destiny and you set the program. Then it's about how hard they do it. 

"I'm really pleased with what they've done in their own time. They've come back ready to go, now we've got to overlay it with football."

Rookie forward Isiah Winder will be missing from the program until at least the new year as Victoria Polices investigate an incident in Geelong last week, following the AFL/AFLPA Indigenous and Multicultural Players Summit. 

Isiah Winder kicks a goal during West Coast's clash against Greater Western Sydney in round 10, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Simpson said the situation was disappointing, coming less than a week after Winder was re-listed by the club.  

"We're heading in this direction while we transition our list and bring some youth in and excitement, and he's got a little bit of work to do to get that back," the coach said.  

"We still need to look after his health and wellbeing though and make sure he is OK in that sense. 

"We're an AFL club and we've got standards, but we also need to look after the person."