Dynamic West Coast midfielder Luke Shuey could be given until the last minute to prove his fitness ahead of what would be his first RAC Derby since becoming captain.
Shuey is tracking ahead of schedule from a one-to-two-week hamstring strain suffered against Sydney on July 4.
The Eagles skipper trained strongly on Tuesday morning with a small group of teammates and a decision on his possible inclusion to face the Dockers will be left until later this week.
“Luke is the subject of plenty of discussion internally. He’s progressing really well, probably ahead of where we expected him to be,” General Manager – Football Craig Vozzo told westcoasteagles.com.au.
“You would have seen him training today doing some strides and some general ball work.
“He’ll be a test later in the week and all things being equal we’ll probably run it all the way down to the line, I would have thought.”
Small forwards Jamaine Jones and Jack Petruccelle are also battling hamstring issues, with Jones going down in the same match as Shuey.
“(Jones) is tracking just slightly behind him,” Vozzo said.
“We think he’ll probably be ticked off later this week, probably on Saturday, all things being equal for a return to play the following week.”
The news is not as good for 21-year-old speedster Petruccelle, who has avoided going under the knife but faces a lengthy stint on the sidelines.
“Unfortunately for Jack, he was tracking really well, getting himself into some really good form through the scrimmage games that we had over there and putting his hand up pretty high for selection,” Vozzo said.
“However, versus Brisbane last Friday unfortunately he came off late with a hamstring injury and it looks like it’s at the more extreme end.
“He’s avoided surgery, thankfully, he’s going to undertake a conservative path to recovery, but it’s more likely he’ll be out of action for at least a month.”
The Eagles have been buoyed recently seeing premiership tagger Mark Hutchings continuing to build his workload after an iliotibial band issue.
“Hutch is tracking really well,” Vozzo said.
“All things being equal if he can tick off the normal protocols he’ll be available for some game minutes next weekend if we’re able to establish a game versus Collingwood or some other team.”
The club is also looking forward to draftee Mitch O’Neill making his way back to Perth after a long stint in Hobart recuperating from a back stress fracture.
“Young Mitch O’Neill, really excited to have him back. That will be on Thursday coming back via Sydney from Hobart,” Vozzo said.
“His lower back stress injury has recovered really well, so he’ll be handed across to our rehab and (strength and conditioning) staff to undertake an intensive fitness program to get him up to a state where he can play soon.”