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Darling cleared to play Hawks

Rhys Dickinson  April 18, 2017 4:30 PM

HBF Health Injury Update: Rd 5 v Hawks West Coast Eagles general manager of football Craig Vozzo details the rehabilitation plan for Eagles currently sidelined with injury
Jack Darling has overcome an ankle injury and will be considered for selection this week

Jack Darling has overcome an ankle injury and will be considered for selection this week

Sam Mitchell will face a fitness test later this week to determine his availability for West Coast’s round five clash with Hawthorn at the MCG.


Eagles general manager of football Craig Vozzo said the signs were good for the 34-year-old given his ankle had pulled up better than expected following a sickening incident at the weekend.

Mitchell was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he copped a nasty bout of friendly fire from teammate Jack Redden early in the second quarter on Thursday night.

Redden, who was laying a tackle on Swan George Hewett, accidentally collected Mitchell’s lower leg in an ugly incident that left the former Hawks reeling in pain in the centre of Domain Stadium.

“Sam’s progressing well,” Vozzo said.

“He obviously turned that ankle quite severely on Thursday, but the progress he’s made over the last two days has been really remarkable. We’re expecting him to do more on Thursday and we will see how we go.”

Vozzo had more specific news regarding key forward Jack Darling.

He said the 24-year-old should get the green light to face the Hawks after overcoming his own ankle injury.

“He was a decision last week; we took a conservative approach,” Vozzo revealed.

“He will train more and more towards the back end of the week, but we’re expecting him to play.”

Sharrod Wellingham will also be available for selection this week in spite of suffering a serious cork to his left thigh against Sydney.

The versatile defender was restricted to running laps at training this morning, but Vozzo said he would be good to go come Sunday.

“He battled on really well, played out the game, has done the normal rest and recovery type of thing and he’ll train later in the week,” he said.

“We are expecting him to be available.”

Longer term injury prospects Scott Lycett and Willie Rioli are also closing in on a return to playing.

Lycett, who dislocated his shoulder during a pre-season WAFL match, and Rioli, who damaged his right hamstring tendon during pre-season training, could be available to play for East Perth in less than a month should their respective rehabilitation programs go to plan, according to Vozzo.

“Scott Lycett is progressing his running quite well, as well as his gym; he’s slowly getting there,” he said.

“We’re expecting somewhere between four and six weeks, with AFL nine (weeks) in mind as the earliest date to play.

“Willie Rioli is progressing nicely now. He’s getting more and more confident in the hamstring. He’s doing more and more on deck. He’ll be introduced to more drills next week and we’re expecting him to be available to play in four weeks, possibly five.”