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

WEST Coast's forward line will resemble the Land of the Giants against Essendon at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, but whether the top-heavy formula works remains to be seen.

Eagles co-skipper Oscar Allen will make his long-awaited return from knee surgery in the game, joining the in-form Jake Waterman and veteran Jack Darling in attack.

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 Williams doesn't make the final cut when West Coast trims down its squad on Friday afternoon, the forward line will still be a towering one.

"It can work," Simpson said on Friday. 

"If it's Darling, Allen and Waterman predominantly in your forward line with a bit of Bailey (Williams) - it's definitely something we've got to look at at some stage to see if it works."

Taylor Duryea attempts to mark the ball under pressure from Jack Darling (left) and Oscar Allen during the match between the Western Bulldogs and West Coast at Marvel Stadium in round 23, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Simpson floated the possibility of playing Maric more on the wing, or even in defence, this week in order to accommodate the influx of big forwards.

Allen kicked 53 goals last year to stamp himself as one of the premier forwards of the competition, while Waterman has kicked 33 in 11 games this season to thrust his name into All-Australian calculations.

Whether Waterman can maintain his hot form following the inclusion of Allen is a big talking point, but Simpson is confident the skipper's return will make the team more powerful.

"Oscar wants to complement our side and help us win," Simpson said.

"I don't think it's about Jake kicking goals, and he's really clear on that. 

"I'm not worried about him winning the Coleman. I hope he's not either. It's about the collective."

Jayden Hunt's return from a toe injury means Andrew Gaff has been dropped for the second time this season.

Tall defender Harry Edwards goes out for Josh Rotham, while premiership hero Dom Sheed (hamstring) is sidelined.


Former Hawk Tyler Brockman has earned a recall for the first time since being charged with dangerous driving over an incident that left a lamppost flattened on May 4.

"He made a mistake, and he needs to suffer the consequences for that when the time's right," Simpson said of Brockman, who was goalless across six games this year before his off-field dramas surfaced.

"But within within the four walls, we need to take care of him and try and get him a career that gives the club as much as we give him. 

"The metrics we needed him to hit before he became available, he's done that.

"So that's the work ethic, the GPS profile we need from him, and the standards around the gym and that sort of stuff.

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