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Mixed news for Eagles

On the back of a heartbreaking end to the 2015 season, the West Coast Eagles have been due some good luck in recent weeks. But the encouraging news that Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown are on course to return from their respective knee injuries in time for the new season has been somewhat overshadowed by the revelation that Alec Waterman is no closer to a return. The rookie has been struggling with glandular fever since the midway point last season and has recently been granted indefinite leave as his continues to battle the illness.

The youngster joined the Eagles as a father-son recruit in the 2014 AFL Draft, making a real mark in the WAFL during the opening stages of 2015 before coming down with glandular fever halfway through the year.

Before falling ill, Waterman averaged an impressive 21.5 disposals in his eight appearances for East Perth, and it was a real blow to the youngster’s development. While the rookie wasn’t used beyond round 10, he remained in light training while trying to recover.

Having been cleared to resume light training in recent weeks, the decision has now been taken to grant the 19-year-old some time off in the hope he can get himself back to full health. While it remains to be seen just what plans the Eagles have for the powerful midfielder in 2016, Waterman has shown enough during his time at the club to suggest he could have a role to play should he recover before the start of next season.

But this disappointing news has been lightened somewhat with the fact two important players are on course to make a return from injury in time for the new campaign. This is a season which will see the Eagles start priced around 9/2 with bet365 and other sportsbooks. 

CC by Michael_Spencer 

Mackenzie and Brown both sustained season-ending knee injuries at the start of last year, but the duo look set to be in contention for selection in time for round one of the new campaign. Having established himself as a key member of this Eagles team ever since being drafted in the second round of the 2006, 2014 was something of a breakthrough year for Mackenzie.

Having been promoted to acting co-captain at the start of the year, the key position defender ended the year by winning the Eagles’ best and fairest award, beating Brownlow Medallist winner Matt Priddis to the accolade.

For Brown, last season’s knee construction was the second of his career, but the defender looks ready to join the rest of his team-mates for Christmas training. Having initially broken into the Eagles team as a forward, Brown has really established himself in this defence, and his return to the team will be a huge boost to head coach Adam Simpson.

The two returning defenders will feel like new signings for the Eagles next season, and the main focus will now be on getting the duo through preseason and ready for the opening game of the 2016 campaign against Brisbane.

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