Eagles ponder big gamble against Bombers

Oscar Allen, the co-captain, will make his comeback against Essendon, joining Jake Waterman and Jack Darling in the Eagles’ formidable forward line.

When WEST Coast plays Essendon at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, their forward line will resemble the Land of the Giants, but it’s unclear if this top-heavy strategy will be successful.

Oscar Allen, the co-skipper for the Eagles, will play in the game after a much-needed knee surgery. He will attack alongside veteran Jack Darling and the highly effective Jake Waterman.

The 196cm-tall Ryan Maric is set to play, while Eagles coach Adam Simpson is also considering keeping the 201cm Bailey Williams in the squad.

Williams has played most of the season as a makeshift ruckman, but is now free to play forward following the recent return of Matt Flynn.

Even if Bailey Williams doesn’t make the final roster when West Coast finalizes its squad on Friday, the team’s forward line will still be a formidable force.

Coach Simpson acknowledged the potential, stating, “The combination of Darling, Allen, and Waterman, with Williams adding depth, is an option we need to explore and see if it yields success.”

To accommodate the surge of large strikers this week, Simpson hinted at the prospect of playing Maric more on the wing, or even in defence.

Waterman has scored 33 goals in 11 games this season to put his name in the All-Australian lineup, whereas Allen scored 53 goals the previous year to establish himself as one of the league’s top forwards.

It will be interesting to see if Waterman can continue to play at his high level now that Allen is back, but Simpson is sure the team will be stronger with the captain back.

“Oscar wants to help us win and complement our side,” Simpson remarked.

“Jake is quite clear that it isn’t about him kicking goals, in my opinion.

“I don’t think it will concern him to win the Coleman. I really hope he’s not. It’s all about the group.

Following his recovery from a toe injury, Jayden Hunt has been benched for the second time this season, replacing Andrew Gaff.

Josh Rotham replaces tall defender Harry Edwards, while premiership hero Dom Sheed (hamstring) is out.

For the first time since he was accused of reckless driving following an event on May 4 that resulted in the destruction of a lamppost, former Hawk Tyler Brockman has been called for recall.

Regarding Brockman, who went goalless in six games this season before his off-field troubles came to light, Simpson stated, “He made a mistake, and he needs to suffer the consequences for that when the time’s right.”

“However, we must look after him inside the four walls and work to find a job that will benefit the club just as much as we do.

“He has met the benchmarks we required him to meet prior to his availability.

Thus, those are the norms surrounding the gym and other things of that nature, as well as the work ethic and GPS profile we require from him.

“And then there’s some off-field stuff we’re going to work on, and that will take years.”

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