EMERGING West Coast tall Oscar Allen is confident he is fully recovered from shin soreness and is ready to ramp up his workload as he sets his sights on playing more senior football in 2019.
Allen celebrated a mini milestone by joining main pre-season training this week for the first time in his short stint at the club.
Unbeknownst to the 19-year-old, he played with a stress fracture in his lower leg during his 2017 draft year – when he claimed the Larke Medal as the NAB AFL Under-18s Championships’ best player.
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Allen spent his first summer at the Eagles in rehab and has been carefully managed so far this pre-season, often running solo around the Subiaco Oval boundary, but is ready to join the main group.
“I’ve just had a little bit of stress reaction around the muscle on my leg, but that’s fully recovered now and I’m just enjoying getting back into full training with the boys,” Allen told westcoasteagles.com.au.
Allen’s diligence during his rehab helped him break through for two appearances in his debut season.
He started his West Coast career as a key defender and was called up in Tom Barrass’ absence in a gritty round 16 victory against the Giants.
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Despite an encouraging performance, Allen made way the following week and wasn’t required until the crucial final round win at Brisbane, when he took six marks as star forward’s Jack Darling’s sidekick.
While his longer-term future appears to be in attack, Allen is happy to remain a swingman, especially if it helps him earn a spot in Adam Simpson’s side.
“As a player, I want to keep my options open so I can play a number of different positions,” he said.
“I think I’m going to more focus on trying to be a forward this year, but as I said versatility is something I hold myself dear to.
“I think it’s one of my strengths, so I’ll be sure to keep my options open for an opportunity wherever that comes.”
Although Allen is back into main training, the Eagles have several premiership players still working their way back from injuries, including Josh Kennedy (shoulder), Elliot Yeo (toe), Jamie Cripps (foot) and Daniel Venables (knee).
Nic Naitanui (ACL) was back on deck on Wednesday after his US training stint and practiced some set shot goalkicking away from the main group as he builds towards a mid-season return.
Source: AFL FOOTBALL NEWS