West Coast Eagles captain Oscar Allen confident his return won’t impact Jake Waterman’s career-best form

Headshot of Jackson Barrett
Jackson BarrettThe West Australian
VideoQuarters and Barra discuss Elliot Yeo's future with West Coast and break down the results of Round 14.

West Coast co-captain Oscar Allen is confident his looming return will not disrupt the career-best form of star teammate Jake Waterman.

Allen, who is in the mix to return to the Eagles’ side for the first time since round one when they face Essendon on Sunday, also flagged Waterman will retain his role as the deepest marking target in the forward line.

The skipper could be face the Bombers if he gets through Thursday’s main training session.

He did only light kicking drills and little running during a session at Mineral Resources Park on Tuesday, in preparation for his crucial fitness test later this week.

Waterman sits equal-second in the Coleman Medal race with 33 goals and has been the biggest revelation of West Coast’s season.

“Everyone who followed Jake closely knew he was capable of doing this, he has just had to play a really sacrificial role (in the past. He hasn’t been able to be the deep forward for most of his career thus far,” Allen said.

“He has got all the attributes to be a terrific player and as a mate I’m just really proud to see him being able to take that on centre stage and everyone sees it and knows how valuable and important he is now.

West Coast Eagles training at Laithlain Oval
Jake Waterman appeared to have significant bruising on his lower leg.
Camera IconJake Waterman trains at Mineral Resources Park. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

“I’m just going to support him as much as I can, he’s having a great year. That’s what Jack (Darling) and JK (Josh Kennedy) did for so long, they just support each other and make each other better.

“I don’t think it’s as simple as just ‘deepest forward’ anymore, it’s pretty fluid, everyone defends everyone and everyone runs everywhere and the play just kind of adapts.”

The forward’s return will put the squeeze on the Eagles forwards, with all of Waterman, Darling, Jack Williams, Jack Hutchinson and Ryan Maric fit to go.

“It’s a good problem. I think the benefit of guys being injured the past couple of years (is) the development in Ryan Maric, who has only been here a year but it feels like he’s been here for so much longer, Jack Williams and then obviously the year Jakey has had this year has been exceptional,” Allen said.

“JD always backs up and is available for selection. It’s a good headache to have ... and looking forward to seeing what the coaches want to do.”

Allen, his co-captain Liam Duggan and star midfielder Tim Kelly are all in a race to be ready in time to head to Melbourne at the weekend.

Duggan was on very light duties at training on Tuesday as he nears the end of concussion protocols, but Kelly took part in almost the entire session, including match simulation.

Adam Simpson revealed on Monday night Allen would return straight to the senior side, rather than playing WAFL, if passed fit and the 25-year-old key forward said he was fully confident in his body holding up.

“I think I’m ready to go. It’s a credit to the rehab staff they have put together a succinct program and over the last 13-14 weeks we have done everything right,” Allen said.

Tim Kelly and Oscar Allen.
Camera IconTim Kelly and Oscar Allen. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

“When I am available to play I’m ready to go. I have that confidence in myself.”

Allen said there was no ongoing pain in his knee and insisted the injury wouldn’t need to be managed through the back-half of the season.

He was named captain — alongside Duggan — in pre-season and is yet to lead the club onto the ground in the role.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails