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West Coast Eagles

West Coast's injury list dwindling by the day

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 05: Jeremy McGovern chats with Tom Barrass during the West Coast Eagles 2019 official team photo day at Subiaco Oval on February 5, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Jeremy McGovern is on track to play in the upcoming JLT Community Series

Star West Coast defender Jeremy McGovern and spearhead Josh Kennedy headline the big-name Eagles set to be scrubbed off a dwindling injury list in coming weeks as they target JLT Community Series comebacks.

Dual club champion Elliot Yeo (toe) and full-back Tom Barrass (foot) are also making encouraging progress seven weeks out from the season opener against Brisbane.

McGovern sparked concerns when he recently underwent a minor procedure to place a plate over the ribs he broke during the Grand Final.

But the slimmed-down triple All Australian was back training at Lathlain Park on Monday and was unrestricted during skills work. 

"He's going well. We're just making sure he doesn't have too much contact at all for at least the next couple of weeks," West Coast's general manager of football Craig Vozzo told AFL.com.au.

"Then we'll get him back into it as we start playing games.

"The aerobic stuff is still going well and you'll see him more and more on the track in the next couple of weeks."

The Eagles' first JLT clash is against Geelong at Leederville Oval on March 1.

The reigning premiers will stage an intraclub hitout on Friday, February 22 - the same day as the AFLX tournament.

Kennedy (shoulder) has completed a power of running this summer, in a promising sign he is over the leg problems which have blighted his past two campaigns.

The dual Coleman medallist is on target to appear in at least one pre-season match against the Cats or Fremantle in Mandurah on March 10.

"He will train (fully) around about the time we have the intraclub and I reckon he'll be asking to play in the JLT Series. We'll be pulling him back if all goes to plan," Vozzo said.

"They're (medicos) pretty happy with him. It's just graduated, that's all. We don't want to take too much risk with the big fella."

Yeo and Barrass, who was absent on Monday due to gastro, completed a gruelling training session last Friday and will continue to build their programs in the coming weeks.

There is also positive news for dynamic youngster Daniel Venables, who is transitioning from rehab to main training after a pre-Christmas knee scrape.

"He's going quite well, actually. I think we've turned the corner," Vozzo said.

"I think he will play (pre-season games), but it won't be until I reckon March that we'll start seeing that side of things."

Underrated small forward Jamie Cripps appears the only premiership-winning Eagle set to miss the start of the season after recently being sent for toe surgery.

"I haven't got a date yet for him, but we'll know more as we increase his loading and start doing change of direction, which won't be for a few weeks yet," Vozzo said.

West Coast initially held fears for Jake Waterman after he rolled his ankle and was spotted on crutches last week, but the emerging forward escaped with only a minor setback.

Meanwhile, top draftee Xavier O'Neill, taken with pick 28 last year, is being carefully managed after knee trouble.

The Eagles are confident the 18-year-old midfielder will be fit for their first WAFL practice game at the end of March.

"He will start back on the Alter-G this Saturday and we expect him to be on ground on Monday," Vozzo said.

"We're still confident he'll build into the trial games.

"He had a good pre-Christmas short burst with us and some minor knee issues which we're now building him back from."