West Coast Eagle Darling’s work injury stays private, Gold Coast Tim Kelly COVID positive – ESPN

West Coast coach Adam Simpson says Jack Darling’s medical stand-off with the club will remain a private matter, stating that it’s not right to divulge personal information of that nature.

And the Eagles were dealt a huge blow ahead of Sunday’s season opener against Gold Coast after Tim Kelly tested positive to COVID-19 and Liam Ryan was placed into the AFL’s health and safety protocols.

Darling’s career hung in the balance when he missed the AFL’s January 21 deadline to receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

West Coast released a statement at the time saying Darling couldn’t train or attend the club’s headquarters until he was vaccinated.

But the star forward contradicted that statement when he said he had been diagnosed with suffering from a work-related injury and wasn’t at the club due to “doctor’s orders”.

The saga took another twist last Friday when Darling returned to the club after satisfying the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols.

Darling is set to miss the early rounds of the season while he builds up match fitness and recovers from a niggling foot injury.

Many questions still remain unanswered about Darling’s journey back to West Coast, but Simpson said it wasn’t right to talk about a player’s medical status and history.

“Open slather on everything (else), but let’s not get to the personal details about his medical position and his health and wellbeing, if that’s OK,” Simpson said to open his press conference on Monday.

“That’s private. That’s between Jack and his doctor. I’m just not going to go there out of respect, and that’s with anyone, not just Jack.”

Simpson said Darling had been welcomed back with open arms by the player group and didn’t have any explaining to do.

West Coast’s crippling injury crisis and the growing COVID-19 cases in Perth means Simpson is down to about 25 or 26 available players ahead of the clash with Gold Coast.

Kelly had been in home isolation for the past few days after his family members tested positive to COVID-19, and it was reported that the star midfielder himself tested positive on Monday.

Ryan could also miss the match after being placed into protocols, but it’s unclear what day he started and whether he tested positive or was just a close contact.

Captain Luke Shuey (hamstring) is pushing for a round-one berth after starring in an intraclub hit-out last Friday, but Simpson said a few other players picked up injuries in the practice match.

“You’ll work it out in the next few days,” Simpson said in regards to which players got injured.

Jamie Cripps, Tom Cole, Dom Sheed, Elliot Yeo, Oscar Allen, Campbell Chesser, Greg Clark, and Alex Witherden (suspended) are already among the confirmed outs for round one.