Eagles star Darling cleared for AFL return

Shayne Hope
Jack Darling is set to return from injury for West Coast and be available for round one

All-Australian forward Jack Darling will return to action in West Coast's intra-club match this Friday in a major boost ahead of the AFL season proper.

The 27-year-old suffered a small cheekbone fracture last month and missed the Eagles' defeats to Essendon and Fremantle during the pre-season series.

But new West Coast captain Luke Shuey confirmed his 2018 premiership teammate would play in the club's final pre-season hit-out.

If he gets through unscathed, Darling is a certainty to line up in the season opener against Melbourne at Optus Stadium on March 22.

"Jack's good, he'll be right for round one," Shuey told AAP.

"We've got a pretty big hit-out this Friday, so he'll have a run around in a little intra-club (match) for us.

"I think the head's OK, so he'll be ready to go."

Darling earned his first All-Australian jumper last year after kicking a career-best 59 goals for the season.

An elite contested mark, he has since been labelled a "beast" by teammate Josh Kennedy and shapes as a key cog in West Coast's 2020 premiership ambitions.

Friday's intra-club match is the last chance for several fringe Eagles to push their claims for berths in what could be a full-strength team for round one.

Ruck bolter Bailey Williams will play after managing hamstring tightness and could be picked to partner first-choice big man Nic Naitanui.

Oscar Allen (ankle) is yet to play during the pre-season but remains in contention for round one selection.