Star backman Jeremy McGovern is set to rejoin training with West Coast’s main group next week and remains in contention for the season opener against Melbourne.
McGovern underwent heel surgery in November to fix an issue impacting his Achilles and recently turned a corner in his recovery.
The four-time All Australian is pain-free, building his workload on the track and hopeful of lining up alongside fellow key defensive pillar Tom Barrass against the Demons at Optus Stadium on March 22.
“I think if everything goes right he (McGovern) might be available,” senior coach Adam Simpson said following the Stevie Simpson Cup dog race on Tuesday morning.
“We’re not putting any pressure on him, though. It’s not all about round one as we all know.
“It’s the second pre-season he’s missed a fair chunk of training. It’s a pretty long season so we’ll see how we go, but we’re still hopeful.
“It’s just how much we can get into him before round one – that’s the biggest concern at the moment.
“It’s just taken a little bit longer to settle down, the Achilles, but he’s turned the corner so how quick he responds will determine whether he plays or not.”
Barrass (foot) has been back training alongside his teammates for several weeks, while tall timber Nathan Vardy (ankle), Tom Hickey (calf
) and Oscar Allen (hernia) are all progressing well.
The Eagles’ injury list is dwindling, with emerging backman Josh Rotham also close to resuming with the full squad after a minor hamstring tweak.
“There’s always five or six players who are unavailable week to week but nothing is long term,” Simpson said.
“Important two or three weeks for us, we’ve got a lot of guys transitioning back into full training.
“Touch wood we get through the next few weeks, we don’t lose anyone and we’re right to go.”
Simpson was thrilled big guns Nic Naitanui and Josh Kennedy have ticked off the majority of pre-season so far to “set them up for the year”.
The Eagles are little more than two weeks away from kicking off their Marsh Community Series against Essendon at Mineral Resources Park on February 27, and will take the opportunity to watch the club’s AFLW team’s home debut this Saturday in the RAC Derby against Fremantle.
“I’m not front and centre with the girls, but they’ve trained with us, we know all the coaching staff really well, the girls are giving tremendous effort,” Simpson said.
“We’ve got their backs win, lose or draw.
“They’re representing our club well.”