West Coast can expect forward line reinforcements to arrive after Tuesday night’s clash with Essendon, with mobile tall Jake Waterman likely to return alongside champion goalkicker Josh Kennedy for Sunday’s encounter against the Western Bulldogs.
Meanwhile, speedy small Jack Petruccelle (hamstring) is also making strong progress as he bids to return for his first match since round three.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson told fans to expect a “glimpse of the future” against the Saints with Oscar Allen returning from a glute issue to lead the tall timber in attack with Jack Darling in Kennedy’s absence.
West Coast will also be without experienced small Jamie Cripps, who has returned to Perth for the imminent birth of his first child, leaving spots up for grabs across half-forward.
Petruccelle and Waterman should soon be pushing for those positions, with the latter on target to be back to face the Dogs following four games out with a fractured hand.
“Jake is tracking really well. He won’t play this week but we expect he will be available for selection in the week that we play the Bulldogs,” General Manager – Football Craig Vozzo told westcoasteagles.com.au.
“Josh took a really heavy knock (from Richmond’s Noah Balta) as we all saw. He’s going to miss this game (against Essendon). He’ll be a test for the Bulldogs game but is tracking really well with all the normal protocols and tests players undertake post a heavy incident like that.
“Expecting good news but we’ll make that decision later on.
“Great news with young Jack, he’s been medically ticked off. He’s now with our strength and conditioning staff to get him ready to play.
“We expect him to play in our next scrimmage game, not the one tomorrow but the one after that, and make a late charge to the end of the minor rounds.”
In-form defender Jackson Nelson (shoulder) and onballer Jack Redden (abductor) have both come off the injury list and will play against the Bombers.
Dual club champion Elliot Yeo is a little further back in his recovery from groin trouble but has joined his teammates in Queensland and started running again as he aims for a comeback in round 18.
“He has been doing some walk/jog and slowly building up his training with a view to elevating,” Vozzo said.
“We’re confident he’ll be back for our last minor round game versus North Melbourne and he’ll have a build up to that game on the track.”
There is also positive news for big man Nathan Vardy, who is set to travel to the hub at Sanctuary Cove soon after strong progress from compartment syndrome.
“Nathan is tracking really well,” Vozzo said.
“We originally thought it was going to be a season-ending injury, but he’s been doing some work in the pool and he’ll do some work on the Alter-G machine in terms of his running and building up that running profile.
“He’s likely to join us in the hub over the next week or so to be available at the end of the minor round as we push into the finals hopefully.”
Meanwhile, young half-back Francis Watson has undergone a successful traditional knee reconstruction and started along the rehabilitation path.
West Coast injury list:
Jamaine Jones (Hamstring) Season
Josh Kennedy (Head) 1 week
Mitch O’Neill (Back) 2-3 weeks
Jack Petruccelle (Hamstring) 2 weeks
Nathan Vardy (Thigh) 4 weeks
Daniel Venables (Head) Season
Jake Waterman (Hand) 1 week
Francis Watson (Knee) Season
Elliot Yeo (Groin) 3 weeks