WEST Coast defender Jeremy McGovern will make his long-awaited return from a thumb injury this week, with the club also set to hand a debut to mature-aged rookie Nic Reid for Sunday's clash with Hawthorn.
McGovern has missed three matches due to a fractured thumb, but the four-time Virgin Australia AFL All Australian defender has finally been deemed fit to bolster an Eagles side that is looking to continue an impressive six-game winning streak.
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"He's declared himself available," West Coast coach Adam Simpson said on Thursday.
"He'll play this week, so it's great. Barring any unforeseen circumstances in the next few days … he got through training well today. It's not one of those things where you see how it pulls up, because he's not getting any assistance with it.
"He's pain-free, so he'll play this week."
Young defender Josh Rotham returned for last Sunday's victory over Carlton and impressed in McGovern's absence, taking eight marks in a solid role across half-back.
Simpson revealed that Rotham was given the weekly 'Trademark Player' award by his Eagles teammates for his performance, but wouldn't confirm whether he would exit the side to make way for the more experienced McGovern.
"Jeremy has been a pillar for us down back," Simpson said.
"He's our vice-captain as well, so we love having him in the side. But we've had the opportunity to play Harry Edwards and Josh Rotham has come in and played a role for us.
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"We've managed to play with a different backline and get it done, so we're really pleased for the guys who have filled in for him. Unfortunately, one of those guys are going to have to go out of the side to fit him in.
"We haven't had match committee yet, so we'll work through that this afternoon. It's not automatically going to be Josh. Our players voted on our 'Trademark Player' award last week and he was that. He was pretty important to our victory.
"Unfortunately, he's been in and out of the side all through his short career. He played well on the weekend, though, and we're happy with how he's going."
Reid, a 24-year-old former school teacher who was recruited to West Coast as a rookie during the Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period (SSP), will make his debut against Hawthorn.
The 188cm forward kicked 23 goals from 15 games with West Coast's WAFL side last season, earning himself a spot on the club's senior list in March this year.
"He's come from so far back," Simpson said.
"He's a local boy from North Beach. He was a 24-year-old school teacher who was about to play his 100th game in the amateurs, then he gets a go at WAFL level and gets put on our list.
"Now he's playing against Hawthorn at Optus Stadium, so it's a great story for him."