Veterans set to return for AFL’s Eagles

Wobbling West Coast are set to regain two star veterans for Friday’s crucial AFL clash with a resurgent Geelong at Patersons Stadium.

Fullback and captain Darren Glass will return from a one-match suspension to bolster a backline torn apart by Fremantle’s Matthew Pavlich in his absence last weekend, while Norm Smith medallist Andrew Embley is ready for a recall after a long injury layoff.

The return of the experienced pair will be a welcome filip for the Eagles, whose premiership hopes have taken a major blow as the team slipped out of the top four with just one win from their past four games, with the Cats heading west having rediscovered their form in the past fortnight.

Embley, 31, hasn’t played for the Eagles since dislocating his shoulder in round two but has performed well in the WAFL over the last two weekends and coach John Worsfold said he was ready to be recalled.

“I’m pretty confident he’s right to go so there is a good chance he will come in,” he said.

“It is really just how he is feeling, we just have to make sure that this is the best thing for him, whether we bring him in this week or train him up for another week before we look at him at AFL level.

“By all accounts from how he pulled up at the weekend, he is feeling good.

“He’s done what we’ve asked of him, had a really good training load, played 80 minutes in his first week and then 90 minutes on the weekend, so he’s ticked all those boxes.

“He is a quality player, he’s always been in our best 22.”

He said Embley was fit enough to come straight back in and play a full game rather than being eased back into AFL football as a sub.

Worsfold said he was looking forward to seeing how his much-vaunted ruck duo performed against the Cats.

Veteran Dean Cox and emerging star Nic Naitanui were disappointing in the 65-point derby loss to Fremantle, having just 17 possessions and three marks between them.

They come up against a second string Cats’ big man division, with former VFL ruckman Orren Stephenson supported by rookie Josh Walker.

Worsfold said Cox and Naitanui were just two of the Eagles that failed to deliver against the Dockers and he’s challenged them to rebound strongly on Friday.

“They didn’t play the same dynamic football they showed the previous week,” he said of the pair.

“The challenge for all our players is to be a lot more consistent.

“Stephenson was very good last week for Geelong, he’ll bring a great challenge for the boys.

“Their challenge is to play at the level we know they can play at.”

Worsfold said former Brisbane midfielder Brad Dalziell was another player in contention for a recall.

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