Eagles play a waiting game with McGovern
Jeremy McGovern will make his debut when the Eagles tackle Carlton at Etihad Stadium tomorrow. Picture: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

The composition of Carlton's line-up will determine whether Jeremy McGovern starts his West Coast career as a forward or defender, according to coach Adam Simpson.

As the Eagles loaded up with talls for tomorrow's crunch clash with the Blues at Etihad Stadium, McGovern completed an extraordinary turnaround when he was yesterday named to make his debut.

The 22-year-old's inclusion comes just five months after he was banished from training with the main group for returning for pre-season out of shape.

The 195cm utility player, the son of former Fremantle and Sydney defender Andrew, was recruited as a key forward in the 2011 rookie draft but has starred in defence for East Perth, claiming the scalps of several quality forwards while also winning plenty of the ball himself.

Ruckman Scott Lycett and defender Will Schofield joined McGovern in the team as forward Josh Hill was dropped after returning only one goal from two games.

Xavier Ellis (calf) wasn't considered, while captain Darren Glass was unavailable through suspension.

Simpson declared out-of-sorts ruckman Nic Naitanui a certain starter, meaning West Coast will revert to playing three ruckmen after taking in only Dean Cox and his heir apparent against Port Adelaide last Saturday night.

Carlton included defender Michael Jamison (leg) and Mitch Robinson (knee) from injury, while Jeff Garlett and Brock McLean return after stints in the VFL. Chris Judd (hamstring), Ed Curnow (leg) and Tom Bell (finger) were forced omissions, while young WA midfielder Patrick Cripps (rested) made way for the inclusions.

Simpson said McGovern had improved dramatically since returning to the club in poor physical condition in November.

"He did a little bit of work away from the club with (Mark) Nicoski and came back in really good nick just before Christmas," Simpson said.

"To his credit he got back to a level where - he's still got some improvement - he knows what it takes.

"We know he can play up forward if we need him, and we also know he can play down back so we go into this week with someone who can play at both ends.

"We'll keep an open mind.

"We'll see what Carlton do and we'll go from there."

East Perth coach Brian Dawson said McGovern's call-up had been well deserved.

"He has been a standout for us in defence," he said. "His contested marking and his intercept marking has been very, very strong."

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West