Premiership midfielder Sharrod Wellingham is in line to make his West Coast debut next week after finally overcoming an ankle injury.
Wellingham has been grounded since damaging ankle ligaments in a freak trampoline accident in February, but will make his playing return in East Perth’s WAFL clash with Perth on Thursday.
Should the 24-year-old make it through that hit-out unscathed, the former `Pie could feature in West Coast’s AFL match against the Western Bulldogs on May 5.
The addition of Wellingham would give the Eagles a much-needed boost through the midfield and up forward as they attempt to revive their top-four hopes.
Wellingham kicked 55 goals over 92 games for the Magpies, and tallied 20 disposals and two goals in their grand final win over St Kilda in 2010.
West Coast gave up pick No.18 in the national draft to snare his services, and coach John Worsfold said the 185cm utility was in good shape despite his lengthy injury layoff.
“He’s pretty fit. So this hit-out is just to give him some real good match practice,” Worsfold said on Wednesday.
“Providing he moves and recovers from the game as well as we expect, he’ll be up for selection after this one.
“He’s keen to play. He just loves playing footy. He’s looking forward to getting out and playing with the guys, because that’s why he came here.”
West Coast (1-3) are already two wins adrift of fourth spot, and they’re bracing themselves for a stiff challenge in Saturday night’s clash with unbeaten Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.
Worsfold said skipper Darren Glass, who injured his shoulder in last week’s loss to the Blues, was almost certain to play this week, while vice-captain Beau Waters is also expected to feature after recovering from a calf injury.
Wingman Matt Rosa is likely to spend another week in the WAFL to build up more match fitness.
Worsfold praised the impact of new Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley, who has led the Power to four straight wins in a dream start to his tenure.
“He’s done a wonderful job in terms of putting his stamp on them and quickly getting good results,” Worsfold said.
“It’s often said that it can take six months or 12 months for a new coach to get in there and start to see the results.
“He’s got the team playing pretty well already.”