The clattered casualty ward at the West Coast Eagles is starting to thin out.
While all-Australian defender Brad Sheppard joined the list of players who are unavailable after a concussion against Carlton at the SCG on Sunday, there is optimism around the imminent return of several stars.
At the top of the list are dual Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy and young utility player Oscar Allen who will be available for Sunday’s block buster clash against Richmond at Optus Stadium.
Kennedy was sore last week and did not travel to Sydney while Allen served the mandatory period of rest after being concussed against Essendon.
And there could be a surprise through the possible early return of half-back Liam Duggan.
General Manager, Football Craig Vozzo said those three key players were all progressing positively and subject to good training outcomes, they could be available to confront the Tigers.
“Oscar has passed all of the necessary concussion testing and protocols,” Vozzo said. “He will elevate his week and just needs to get through main training to be available.
“The week has done wonders for JK; he feels refreshed physically and mentally and like Oscar he just has to get through main training and he’ll be available.
“Liam has escalated his training significantly over the last few weeks. He did some really good work on the track today, so he’s a sneaky chance for this week. If not, the next game.”
Athletic wingman Jarrod Brander, who missed the clash against the Blues with a groin strain could also push for selection this week, while the good news kept coming with a positive prognosis for gun midfielders Tim Kelly and Luke Shuey.
“Tim is tracking well,” said Vozzo. “The early signs are a lot better than we initially forecast, so he is looking more like a couple of weeks rather than three or four. We’re hopeful in the next fortnight we will see him back on the track playing.
“Luke is progressing really well. You will have seen Luke over the last month doing a lot of work in training with the main group. He will do main training again this week and we expect him to play after the bye. It won’t be long, another couple of weeks.”
Defenders Jeremy McGovern and Alex Witherden are also trending towards an imminent return.
“Alex is tracking well,” Vozzo added. “He’s managed to complete two sessions now with no pain at all, so he will elevate his training with a view to having some game minutes in the next couple of weeks.
“Gov is well. He has had a big block of training, having some time off at the moment but he’ll be back later in the week, again escalating his training and we’re hopeful he’s some chance to play after the bye against the Bulldogs.”
The club will continue to work towards a return for utility Brendon Ah Chee and young forward Isiah Winder.