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West Coast Eagles

Colledge graduates

The Team: Round 3 Both West Coast and St Kilda will go for their third straight victory to kick off season 2014
The West Coast Eagles have again taken a youthful approach at the selection table as they looked to fill the one vacancy created in the starting line-up for Saturday’s clash with St Kilda at Paterson’s Stadium.

Emerging utility player Brant Colledge got the nod ahead of a string of more senior teammates to fill the spot left by the absence of star rebounding defender Shannon Hurn.

Hurn damaged the medial ligament in his right knee early in last week’s victory against Melbourne, attempted to battle through, but was subbed out at quarter-time, making way for Brad Sheppard.

A year has certainly proven to be a long time in football for Colledge.

Drafted with selection 45 in the 2012 National Draft, he had a restricted pre-season campaign after a hip problem and then played just two senior games for his WAFL club, Perth when an ankle injury compounded his frustrations.

With an impeded run at the pre-season Colledge, originally recruited as a key position player, showed his capabilities and was earmarked for a role through the midfield. His aerobic capacity convinced the coaching staff that he could graduate to that role.

Through the NAB Challenge he franked the faith of the coaches with a couple of strong performances and was clearly high on the selection radar when he travelled as the emergency to Melbourne last week.

Colledge, 19, stands at a dynamic 192cm and weighs 90kg, so fits the mould of the big-bodied midfielder.

His inclusion will bring to five the number of new faces in the team this season, following on from first round club debutants Xavier Ellis, Elliot Yeo, Jamie Bennell and Dom Sheed.

Sheed is included in the three-man list of emergencies, with ruckman-forward Scott Lycett and rebounding defender Will Schofield. All three have pressed strongly for inclusion and re building a strong case for elevation in the near future.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs