WEST Coast forward Jack Darling has passed the first test this week in his push for a surprise return against North Melbourne, completing training on Tuesday and showing no signs of the foot issue that sidelined him in round one.
Darling headlines a group of stars that could boost the injury-hit Eagles in round two, with premiership forward Liam Ryan and star midfielder Tim Kelly also returning to the club this week after a period in health and safety protocols.
Midfielder Jack Redden said the team was excited by the prospect of Darling's return after a period away from the club for choosing not to meet the AFL's COVID-19 protocols.
Coach Adam Simpson flagged the possibility of Darling's return on Sunday night, declaring he was "super fit" and had "kicked about 10 goals" during three periods of match simulation at the weekend.
"It will be great if Jack can get back. He had a good hit-out on the weekend and from all reports he got through well," Redden said on Tuesday.
"They'll assess him this week, see how he pulls up and whether or not he's ready to go.
"It has been great (to have him back). We all know what he brings and the quality of player he is, so we're really excited as a club and a playing group to get him back.
"Hopefully it's this week or not too far away."
Darling moved well and completed all drills with the main group on Tuesday, then spending time working on his set shot goalkicking.
Captain Luke Shuey also pushed his case after missing the round one loss to Gold Coast with a hamstring injury.
Redden said the skipper was confident he could return against the Kangaroos after being touch-and-go for the season-opener.
West Coast will on Tuesday night challenge the one-match suspension handed to premiership forward Willie Rioli after he was changed by the Match Review Officer with rough conduct for a high bump on Gold Coast star Matthew Rowell.
Rioli was an important presence both forward and in the midfield, and Redden was hopeful the 26-year-old's challenge would be successful.
"To the naked eye it looked like a good hit (and) it was great courage by both players. I thought Willie did a good job to protect himself and go the ball," the midfielder said.
With Kelly and Ryan returning after missing the opening round, Redden said the Eagles players were taking all reasonable precautions to limit their risk of entering health and safety protocols.
Western Australia recorded 5,566 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with 38,140 active cases in the state.
"We can't afford to slip up and be out in the community too much. That's the reality of it," Redden said.
"Outside the footy club, we're pretty limited in what we can do, so the boys are pretty smart around that and we make smart decisions away from the club.
"Some things you can't avoid, but we try to limit our exposure. We're not going out socialising and we try to keep it under wraps through this period."