West Coast defender Sharrod Wellingham is set to miss the start of the AFL season after taking longer than expected to overcome a knock to his knee.
But former Lion Jack Redden will be pushing for a round-one debut after recovering from adductor surgery.
Redden, Luke Shuey (leg), and Dom Sheed (knee) are all expected to return for Sunday’s pre-season fixture against Essendon at Domain Stadium.
The trio will likely back up the following week for WAFL side East Perth in order to get them match hardened for round one.
But Wellingham will be a notable absentee against the Bombers, and in round one.
“He’s got a knock on his knee that he’s had before. Normally it’s come and gone, but it just hasn’t gone this time,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.
“He probably won’t play round one.”
Prized recruit Lewis Jetta (calf) resumed running duties this week and remains a strong chance to play in the season opener against Brisbane on March 27.
The Eagles have looked scratchy so far this pre-season, but Simpson is expecting a far better display against the Bombers as his squad kicks into top gear.
Mitch Brown will miss the next eight weeks after undergoing surgery to fix a tendon injury in his finger.
But midfielder Chris Masten could return for the round three derby against Fremantle after making quick progress in his recovery from an ankle injury.
Wellingham revived his career last year, playing a key role in defence to help West Coast reach the grand final.