Joel Selwood of the Geelong Cats gets tackled by Jeremy McGovern of the West Coast Eagles.

Joel Selwood of the Geelong Cats gets tackled by Jeremy McGovern of the West Coast Eagles.

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Luckily for West Coast forward Jeremy McGovern, it's the second impression that matters most to rookie coach Adam Simpson.

McGovern was the first player to enter Simpson's bad books after rocking up to day one of pre-season training with high skin fold levels.

The 22-year-old also struggled in a series of 1 kilometre time trials, and he was promptly ordered to train away from the main group until his fitness improved.

McGovern worked hard to get back in shape, and some hot form for East Perth has earned him an AFL debut for Saturday's clash with Carlton at Etihad Stadium.

"He's come a long way pretty quickly under my watch," Simpson said of McGovern, who was snared with pick No.44 in the 2011 rookie draft.  

"He did come back out of shape for pre-season, which was really disappointing. The first impression wasn't a great one.

"But he did a little bit of work away from the club with (Mark) Nicoski and came back in really good nick just before Christmas. "Then his performance took over. He's dominating (at) East Perth at the moment."

With skipper Darren Glass missing through suspension, McGovern is likely to be thrust in a defensive role, but the 195cm utility can also play as a marking target up forward.

Rebounding defender Xavier Ellis (calf) will join Glass on the sidelines, while Carlton will be without skipper Chris Judd (hamstring), Ed Curnow (fibula) and Tom Bell (finger).

West Coast (3-2) are eager to bounce back from consecutive losses, while the Blues (1-4) will be aiming to follow up from last week's gutsy win over the Bulldogs.

Eagles forward Josh Kennedy booted 1.5 in last week's loss to Port Adelaide, but Simpson was confident the waywardness was nothing more than an off night.

AAP