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

STAR West Coast forward Oscar Allen has "100 per cent" confidence in his ability to make an immediate return from a knee injury at AFL level if he gets through main training on Thursday and puts his hand up to face Essendon on Sunday.

Allen has not played since round one when he suffered cartilage damage and bone bruising that required minor surgery, but the Eagles have decided not to bring their co-captain back through the WAFL after a lengthy recovery.

The 25-year has instead completed a block of training and an elevated match simulation on Saturday that has him ready for an AFL return, boosting a forward line that has been led by vastly improved goalkicker Jake Waterman.  

"It's been a tough 13-14 weeks now, so I'm just looking forward to playing footy at some level … I think I'm ready to go," Allen said on Tuesday.

"The rehab staff [have] put together a really succinct program and we've done everything we can so when I'm available to play I'm ready to go. I obviously have that confidence in myself.

"You don't put your hand up to play if you're not sure that you can get out the rest of the season, so I'm ready to go and ready to play for the rest of the year."


Allen will return to a forward line that has been transformed by Waterman's form this season, with the 26-year-old kicking a career-high 33 goals through his first 11 games, including three bags of five or more to sit equal third in the Coleman Medal race. 

Allen, who led the Eagles with 53 goals last season, said he was excited about the improvement in the Eagles' forward line and looked forward to supporting Waterman now he had showcased his significant talent. 

"Everyone who's followed Jake closely knows he's always been capable of doing this. He's just had to play a really sacrificial role and he hasn't been able to be deep forward for most of his career," Allen said.  

"I'm just going to support him as much as I can. He's having a great year, so I think forward lines work well when you just go out there to support each other.

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

"That's what Jack (Darling) and 'JK' (Josh Kennedy) did for so long, they just supported each other and tried to make each other better. 

"So when I come back, I just want to make him, Jack, all the boys I'm playing with better, and just play a complementary role and help out whatever way I can."

Asked if he now expected Waterman to play as the deepest forward, Allen said the key targets would figure out how things work best on gameday, with the Eagles also facing decisions on how they balance the selection and roles of fellow talls Jack Darling, Bailey Williams, Jack Williams and Ryan Maric. 

Allen paid tribute to Liam Duggan, who had stepped up to captain the team on his own on gameday and been "exceptional" with his individual form and the standards he had set as a leader. 

Liam Duggan gets a handball away during round nine, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Amid progress in star free agent Elliot Yeo's contract negotiations, the co-captain said he was hopeful the dual club champion would remain in the west beyond this season. 

"It's incredibly important. He's probably our best player when he's up and going, and what he's shown in the first half this year has been pretty exciting," Allen said. 

"Sometimes you forget how good 'Yeoy' is when he's at his best because it's been a couple years through injuries, and that's something I know about as well.

"Him and Harley (Reid) definitely have a certain connection on-field and I think everyone watching can see that … so hoping he can stick around."