Star forward Jack Darling and emerging ruckman Bailey Williams are set to be available for the season-opener against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.

Following confirmation that three-time All-Australian big man Nic Naitanui had been ruled out of the Roos clash, the Eagles received good news regarding both Darling and Williams.

Darling has made a remarkable recovery a month after his ankle was trapped in a Jeremy McGovern tackle during match simulation.

“Jack, after what was a reasonably serious ankle injury, has been the ultimate professional,” Head of Health Mark Finucane told

“He’s looked after it really well and got his range and his power back, and he’s shown his functional progressions to join in a full week of training this week to be available against North.”


Williams was a late withdrawal from the final practice match against Adelaide on March 3 due to hamstring tightness.

“We took a no-risk approach and he’s had a build-up over these last couple of weeks,” Finucane said.

“Similar to Jack he’s had a full week of training and will be available against North.”

The Eagles have a largely fit and healthy list to choose from for round one following a strong pre-season on the training track.

Tall forward Jack Williams (spleen) and utility Josh Rotham (fractured arm) are unavailable as they work their way back.

“Jack Williams about a month ago had an innocuous knock under his rib cage as he was reaching out to take a mark. It just hit him in an unfortunate position where he had a little laceration on his spleen, which we have taken really seriously, as we should,” Finucane said.

“He’s had a quiet month but he’s back to normal energy levels. He’s got an important scan in a couple of weeks and that will give us as guide as we can build him up from there. We’ll take a no-risk approach with that.

“Roth sustained a fracture to his forearm in the practice game against Adelaide. He’s subsequently had surgery to stabilise the fracture.

“He’s feeling really good now a week down the track from that and should be able to start running later this week.”

Injury list:

Jack Darling Ankle Available

Nic Naitanui Achilles TBC

Josh Rotham Arm 3-4 weeks

Bailey Williams Hamstring Available

Jack Williams Spleen TBC