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  • 09 May 2019
    West Coast coach Adam Simpson admits his team wont make much of an impact during finals time if they dont get out of their current funk, but hes not panicking just yet.The Eagles (12-5) enter round 19 just percentage adrift of second spot following a five-match winning run; all against sides below them on the ladder.But their patchy form during that streak has been a huge concern, with the absence of star ruckman Nic Naitanui telling.West Coast were lucky to notch a six-point win over Melbourne last week after losing the inside-50m count 66-37.Naitanui (Achilles surgery) wont return until next weeks clash with Fremantle, meaning the Eagles will need to come up with a different way to generate enough attacking opportunities against Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday.A loss to Collingwood would prove disastrous to West Coasts top-four hopes, and Simpson is well aware the stakes are high.But rather than panic, Simpson said it was just a matter of helping the clubs mid-tier players rediscover the form they displayed during last years run to the grand final.I would have thought a few have dropped away, Simpson said.We need them stepping up.Our good players are playing well at the moment, we just need a few more contributors.The Eagles will start as favourites against both Collingwood and Fremantle.But their top-four hopes will be put to the test in the final three rounds, when they take on GWS (away), Hawthorn (home) and Adelaide (away).Simpson knows his team need to get out of their recent funk if they are to be a legitimate challenger for the premiership this year.You would have thought were not going to progress too far if we continue to play the same standard were playing at the moment, Simpson said.We understand that every game is critical for us at the moment because were fighting with six other sides for two or three spots up the top there.The challenge for us is we want to be a consistent top-four side, and were not there yet.I dont think having one good season gets you that right. Were still working towards that consistency with our sustained success.It doesnt necessarily mean youll win a premiership every year. But if you can be a contender and up amongst it, thats our ultimate goal.West Coast havent beaten Collingwood at the MCG since 1995, and Simpson said it was a challenge his team would embrace.Collingwood were dealt a triple injury blow when Alex Fasolo (shoulder), Jarryd Blair (groin), and Ben Sinclair (concussion) were all forced out this week.West Coast recalled Dom Sheed for his first AFL match of the season, while Will Schofield, Mark Hutchings and Simon Tunbridge also return to the side. cheap nfl jerseys . The Montreal Canadiens announced on Friday that the veteran forward will return to the teams line-up on Saturday night when the Habs visit the Nashville Predators. wholesale jerseys . Each of Houstons starters scored in double figures as the Rockets improved to 2-0 against the Spurs this season, with both victories coming on the road. They also moved within 3 1/2 games of San Antonio (22-7) for the lead the Southwest Division. . -- Timbers coach Caleb Porter didnt stray from his business-like approach to the season even after Portland downed the two-time defending league champion Los Angeles Galaxy to gain crucial playoff position. cheap jerseys . -- Whether Jeremy Hill deserves a prominent role in LSUs offence this early in the season is a matter for debate. NFL Nike Jerseys China . Didier Drogba gave away the penalty that put Senegal one goal away from a major upset, but the veteran striker will get another chance -- probably his last -- at the World Cup after Salomon Kalous injury-time strike sealed the Ivorians place in Brazil next year. CHICAGO -- Big Ten quarterbacks took a big beating last week.No. 4 Michigan, trying to win its first Big Ten championship since 2004, might have to get by with a backup after Wilton Speight injured his left, non-throwing shoulder in last weeks surprising loss to Iowa .Nebraskas Tommy Armstrong Jr. has a left hamstring problem. And Marylands Perry Hills (left shoulder) is banged up, too.The injury to Speight comes at an inopportune time for the Wolverines (9-1, 6-1), considering whats at stake and how well he has played.Michigan can capture the league championship and probably a spot in college footballs four-team playoff by beating Indiana on Saturday, No. 2 Ohio State on the road and winning the conference title game. The Wolverines chances would be better with Speight, but several outlets reported that he broke his collarbone in last weeks 14-13 loss at Iowa. Coach Jim Harbaugh would not confirm that on Tuesday, saying he remains questionable for the game against the Hoosiers.Well evaluate after that, Harbaugh said.Speight, who has completed more than 62 percent of his passes for 2,156 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions, was injured getting tackled on a fourth-quarter scramble against Iowa. Assuming he is sidelined, Michigan would figure to go with John OKorn or Shane Morris, who have played sparingly this season.Armstrong went from getting knocked unconscious in a blowout loss to Ohio State to delivering an inspired, painful performance for Nebraska (8-2, 5-2) in last weeks 24-17 win over Minnesota .He hurt his left ankle on a sneak in the third quarter. Armstrong came back to lead the winning 91-yard drive, but was carried to the sideline by two offensive linemen after tweaking his left hamstring tumbling into the end zone on a 13-yard touchdown.With the hamstring, we wont know until he can try it, coach Mike Riley said. And hes not in a position to try it yet.Ryker Fyfe is taking first-team snaps this week with Zack Darlington backing him up as the Cornhuskers prepare to host Maryland. Armstrong is day to day.The same goes for the Terrapins quarterback. Hills is day-to-day after he injured his left shoulder in the first quarter against Ohio State last week , and the drop-off between him and his backups is a big one. Hills, who has also dealt with a right shoulder injury, has three interceptions over 147 attempts.dddddddddddd Reserves Caleb Rowe and true freshman Tyrrell Pigrome have been picked off five times over a collective 56 throws.Weve been in this mode for several weeks now (with Hills), coach D.J. Durkin said. Hes played well for us at times even with the injury, and obviously hes gotten dinged up at times in games, too.REMEMBERING FOLTZNebraska will honor its seniors on Saturday, and late punter Sam Foltz figures to be on the Cornhuskers minds.The passing of Sam Foltz has become kind of part of our daily thought process, Riley said. Theres not a day, I dont think, that goes by that we dont think about Sam and appreciate him.An All-Big Ten punter, Foltz died in a car crash in Wisconsin on July 23 along with former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler.TOUGH TWOSOMEThe seven-game losing streak that derailed the season for Michigan State (3-7, 1-6) ended with a shutout over Rutgers. The schedule is about to get tougher with two games left -- and both against top 10 teams.The Spartans host No. 2 Ohio State, which will be out to avenge a loss last year that kept the Buckeyes out of the national championship hunt, on Saturday. After that, Michigan State visits No. 9 Penn State.I understand where (Ohio State is) at in the big scheme of things, coach Mark Dantonio said. I understand where Penn States at. The road may go through East Lansing a little bit, I guess. But I just look at it as an opportunity to play and be challenged by great football teams.CARRS CATCHESFrom walk-on to one of the nations best, Northwestern receiver Austin Carr is having quite a senior season.He is tied for sixth in the country in touchdown catches, and ranks ninth in both yards receiving (1,102) and receptions per game (7.5) and 10th in yards per game (110.2).We didnt recruit him, coach Pat Fitzgerald said, laughing. He got here on his own and he called us. Hes one of those cool, cool, just unbelievable, success stories in college football this year -- a young man that was not recruited at all, applies, gets into school and cold calls us and says, `Hey, Id like to try to maybe walk onto the team. How do I do that? And the rest is kind of history.---For more AP college football coverage: ' ' '