Jake Waterman celebrates a goal during the match between West Coast and Essendon at Optus Stadium in round eight, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

WEST Coast is just weeks away from getting their forward line dream team out on the park, and it spells bad news for Jake Waterman's Coleman Medal prospects.

Ruckman Matt Flynn's inclusion for Saturday's clash with St Kilda at Optus Stadium means Bailey Williams will finally get his wish to spend more time in attack.

Williams, who has been forced to shoulder the role of undersized ruckman across the first 11 rounds, will join Waterman, Ryan Maric and Jack Darling as the big marking targets up forward.

Skipper Oscar Allen, who has been sidelined with a knee injury since round one, is on track to return after the club's mid-season bye.

Oscar Allen leads West Coast out against Port Adelaide in round one, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Waterman has been a revelation in attack for the Eagles this year, kicking 30.12 across 10 games to shoot into the Coleman Medal race.

But with Williams now free to play in attack and superstar forward Allen just weeks away from joining him there, the in-form Waterman will have to share the spoils.

For coach Adam Simpson, that's a good situation to be in.

"The objective is to win," Simpson told reporters on Friday.

"We don't want to just have to kick it to Jake to score.

"I don't think we're out there to win the Coleman for Jakey, I think we want to get a really good forward line that is connected and spreads the load.

"Trying to get the best out of everyone is our goal, knowing that not everyone can be the guy that kicks four or five."


Flynn, who crossed from Greater Western Sydney at the end of last year, suffered a serious hamstring tear that required surgery just weeks out from the start of the season.

The 26-year-old returned via the WAFL last week, and he faces a huge challenge when he confronts in-form Saints ruckman Rowan Marshall.

Marshall is averaging 20.6 disposals, 26.5 hitouts and 5.9 clearances per game this season.

Given Flynn's lack of match fitness, Simpson has the option of using Flynn and Williams as a one-two ruck punch against Marshall this week.

But it's not a long-term tactic Simpson is willing to employ.

"I haven't seen that work a lot to be honest, the two ruck situation," Simpson said.

"I think our long-term goal was Bailey as a forward that pinch-hits in the ruck, and not a double ruck combo.

"I don't know what that looks like tomorrow. It might be a bit of both tomorrow.

"But I think long term, you need a ruck who is your ruck, and then you need a forward who can pinch-hit."


St Kilda (3-8) has lost six of their past seven games to crash out of finals contention.

West Coast (3-8) has been a force at home, but its road woes were exposed in last week's 99-point loss to Adelaide.