West Coast star Nic Naitanui is tracking ahead of schedule in his recovery from surgery, while fellow ruckman Scott Lycett has been forgiven for his late-night drinking session.
Naitanui underwent surgery on the plantaris tendon in both feet earlier this month, with the initial time frame on his recovery put at between six to eight weeks.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson said Naitanui was originally worried about going in for surgery during the season.
But Naitanui’s recovery is going faster than expected, fuelling hopes of an earlier return.
“It’s been a success,” Simpson said.
“How he recovers in the next week or two will determine how quickly how he gets back.
“But I’d say he’s on schedule, if not ahead, which we’re really pleased about.
“He’s got a big smile on his face. He’s pain free. So now it’s about how he builds himself back up.”
Lycett will return from a club-imposed suspension in Thursday night’s clash with Essendon.
The 23-year-old was banished to the WAFL after embarking on a drinking session following the round-12 loss to Adelaide.
Lycett responded with a best-afield effort for East Perth, and Simpson said the South Australian had now paid his penance and deserved a recall.
“He understands how he disappointed the club and himself and the players,” Simpson said.
“He’s got some work to do to get their trust back, but he’s made the right steps.”
Thursday night’s match isn’t expected to reach any great heights, with much of the focus centring on the club’s 10-year premiership reunion.
West Coast’s 2006 premiership team will be presented to the crowd before the game, and then form a guard of honour for the current Eagles squad.
The off-field drama involving players from the 2006 era have dominated headlines for the past decade.
Ben Cousins’ battle with drugs hit a new low this week when he was taken to hospital by police after he was found directing traffic on a busy Perth highway.
Fellow 2006 star Daniel Kerr was given a 12-month suspended jail term for threatening to set fire to two people in Glendalough in November 2014.
And Daniel Chick rocked the Eagles on the eve of last year’s grand final when he told of widespread use of cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine during his time at the club.
But Simpson hopes those dramas won’t detract from Thursday’s celebrations.
“It’s about celebrating the victory and success,” Simpson said.
“The stuff off field, the club has learnt so much from that period, and the AFL in general has as well.
“We need to embrace the success we’ve had. We’ve learnt from the mistakes as well.”
A win over struggling Essendon would put West Coast within a win of fourth spot.
But the Eagles are yet to beat a top-eight side this season.