Star West Coast defender Jeremy McGovern is on track to return against AFL heavyweights Hawthorn on Saturday night as the Eagles load up for a season-defining fortnight.
McGovern has missed the past two matches because of a hamstring injury, but the key backman has resumed running and will attempt to prove his fitness on the training track this week.
The 23-year-old’s likely inclusion comes at a crucial time for West Coast, who looked a tad vulnerable in defence in the draw against Gold Coast last week.
“I saw him doing some good runs before we left for Gold Coast last week,” fellow defender Will Schofield said of McGovern.
“So generally with a hammy if you’re running the week before, you should be right.
“Jezza is really important to us.
“He is able to read and intercept marks.
“He just loves playing footy and going for the ball.
“It’s great playing with him because he gets himself into contests and either wins or halves them.”
With five matches remaining, the second-placed Eagles sit six points clear of both Hawthorn and Sydney.
But with matches against premiership favourites Hawthorn and Fremantle to come in the next fortnight, West Coast could slip to fourth unless they snare at least one win from those two games.
The Hawks are set to come out full of fire at Domain Stadium on Saturday night after suffering a shock 18-point loss to Richmond last week.
But the Eagles have become a force to be reckoned with at home this season, with their only defeat there coming at the hands of cross-town rivals Fremantle in round three.
Schofield knows he and his fellow defenders will have their hands full against a potent Hawks forward line featuring Jarryd Roughead, Jack Gunston, Luke Breust, and Cyril Rioli.
“They have got stars all over the field,” Schofield said.
“The great teams have that great leadership aspect, and they have it in spades.
“That’s why they have won two (flags) in a row and are going for three.
“It’s intimidating, but on the other hand, we’re really excited about coming up against them.
“We’ll go on the front foot, that’s for sure.”
West Coast would have beaten Gold Coast last week if it wasn’t for a mark in the dying seconds to Tom Lynch, who calmly slotted the goal with just seconds remaining.