West Coast spearhead Jack Darling will be on modified training duties over the next few weeks after sustaining a small cheekbone fracture.
Darling was involved in a friendly fire incident on the track recently and will sit out the Eagles’ opening Marsh Community Series fixture against Essendon at Mineral Resources Park.
But the All Australian forward – who has won the club’s goalkicking award in the past two seasons - remains a chance to play in the final pre-season clash with Fremantle on March 7 at HBF Arena in Joondalup.
West Coast’s general manager - football Craig Vozzo said Darling is still well on track for the season opener against Melbourne on March 22 at Optus Stadium.
“It was friendly fire in training and unfortunately he has a small fracture of the cheekbone,” Vozzo told westcoasteagles.com.au.
“He will build back into training, just avoiding contact for the next few weeks, but we’re still confident in terms of round one.”
Several Eagles are ramping up their workloads as the season edges closer, including twin defensive towers Jeremy McGovern (heel) and Tom Barrass (foot).
McGovern will increase his training with the main group next week while Barrass is progressing well as he builds towards full training.
Emerging backman Josh Rotham is close to resuming with the squad following a minor hamstring strain.
“He’ll have a test to sign off progress on Friday and we’re expecting him to fit back into main training next week,” Vozzo said.
Versatile midfielder Brendon Ah Chee (iliotibial band) has been training strongly, while Oscar Allen (hernia), Nathan Vardy (ankle) and Tom Hickey (calf) are also making encouraging progress.
“Nathan, Tommy and Oscar are in the same boat in modified training building into full training, and you’ll see more and more of them on the track in main training over the next few weeks,” Vozzo said.
Meanwhile, second-year Eagle Luke Foley has been backed off due to a stress injury in his pubic bone and will gradually lift his training workload in coming weeks.