SHORT AND LONG-TERM INJURED FALCONS ALL SET TO RETURN

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 12:17 AM by Chris Pike

WEST Perth coach Bill Monaghan is looking forward to having a full team available in the coming weeks with Trent Manzone, Steve Potente, Andrew Strijk and Matt Guadagnin among those to return at some level this week against Perth with Nick Rodda still some weeks away.

While the likes of Shane Nelson, Joel Leeson, Joe Morrow, Kody Manning, Chris Keunen and Laine Rasmussen are all back up and running now after significant time on the sidelines throughout 2016, there were still plenty of players missing in the derby loss to East Perth prior to the bye.

Andrew Strijk was a late withdrawal meaning Corey Chalmers was called up following a half in the reserves while Manzone missed his final week through suspension, Potente was out with a sore knee and Rodda remains out with his quad injury.

It is only Rodda who now will remain unavailable against Perth this Saturday at HBF Arena after he reinjured his quad at training after initially doing it against Claremont back in Round 13.

Monaghan is disappointed that Rodda will still need to spend more time on the sidelines after the terrific form he was in as a key defender and how useful he would have been against East Perth, but he is confident he will be back in plenty of time for the finals.

"Nick's a couple of further weeks away still," Monaghan said.

"He had a bit of a recurrence of the quad a couple of weeks ago. His bigger body would have helped us against East Perth but he is a little way aways. His physicality would have certainly helped."

Manning and Rasmussen are two players who haven’t been able to have a good run at staying on the field so far in 2016 but the premiership players were both back against East Perth and Monaghan is now looking forward to both having a sustained run at it for the rest of the season.

"Both have had really interrupted seasons but it was good on a cold, wet and soggy day that they got through," he said.

"They both looked rusty but did some good things and the more footy they can play over this last part of the season the better they will be. It was good they get a week off after that first game back so we can get a bit more training into them."

With Strijk sure to return after being a later withdrawal against East Perth, Potente having overcome his knee niggle and Manzone having now served his four-game suspension, Monaghan is looking forward to having the trio back this Saturday against Perth.

"Andrew will hopefully play after the bye, Trent Manzone has served his suspension now and Steve Potente will be back. The conditions against East Perth would have suited him he is a little feisty character, but he just had a little tweak on his knee and he was 50-50 to play," he said.

"We decided to err on the side of caution with that one so he will come back. It's been funny with our injuries. Early in the season we had eight or 10 injuries and it was quite terrible, and everyone has spoken about us having a lot of players back but most weeks we are still five or six players short of our best.

"The fact is that we've looked like being back at full strength because we had so many quality players out early in the season but again against East Perth we were missing Rodda, Strijk, Potente and Manzone, and they are four guys I would have welcomed to play any week. Throw in Guadagnin who's not far away and a couple in the twos who are pushing hard."

Another major boost in coming weeks looks set to be the return of 191-game premiership midfielder Matt Guadagnin.

The 32-year-old injured his knee in Round 16 last year and required a reconstruction, but he immediately dedicated himself to the rehab in a bid to return late in 2016.

While that might have been put back a week with the birth of his first child, he is set to play in the reserves this Saturday against Perth and based on how he goes, Monaghan will get an idea of where his league return this year might sit.

"His knee seems fine and he's getting through the bulk of training, he's just pulling up a little bit sore through the back and with a bit of tightness in the hamstring. It's really tough to gauge where he's at," he said.

"I would think he will play some footy against Perth. Karly his wife has just given birth to their first baby as well so that has kept him busy. We will try and get him to play some footy against Perth.

"Hopefully he gets through that and we'll slow build it over two or three weeks. If we can get one or senior games into him we'll be happy, but until he plays it's just guess work."

With somebody of the experience and quality of Guadagnin who has kept himself in peak physical condition, Monaghan wouldn’t have any concern over him playing league football and in particular in the finals on limited preparation.

"The other hard part is going to be getting into the side as well if he is looking good," Monaghan said.

"With top end talent, and he is an exceptionally good player, you do everything you can to find a spot for them and he is in ripper nick, and is one of our fittest and strongest players.

"The work load in terms of playing isn’t my concern, it's about his body holding up to the soft tissue stuff rather than the knee. It's all the other associated stuff that he needs to get through.