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West Coast Eagles

Something to prove

PUMA pre-season update: Masten Eagles midfielder Chris Masten speaks to the media after the completion of the NAB Challenge series
Chris Masten of the West Coast Eagles takes a mark during the 2015 NAB Challenge Week 1 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Carlton Blues at Rushton Park, Mandurah on February 27, 2015. (Photo: Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Chris Masten welcomes the underdog tag, saying it gives his teammates something to prove

Chris Masten says his teammates have not been disheartened by the results of a captains’ poll which revealed that just one AFL skipper across the competition expects West Coast to make finals this season.

The midfielder is happy to start the 2015 campaign with something to prove.

“I think we probably are a little bit underrated, but I think that sits well with us,” Masten said.

“We’ve got something to prove and hopefully we can.

“Everyone’s got their own opinion and if no one rates us on the outside, that doesn’t change a thing inside our doors.

“We know what we’re about, we know what we’re aiming towards and we know what we’ve been working hard for.

“We’re not here just to rock up and make up the numbers, we want to have a really good crack.”

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The loss of the team’s no.1 defender in Eric Mackenzie may have lowered the expectations of critics across the board, but Masten is confident in the ability of his teammates to fill the void.

“We still rock up with six backmen and they’ve got six forwards,” Masten said.

“It’s pretty bad losing one of your best players, and he was the best and fairest last year, but we’ve got plenty of blokes that can step up and fill his shoes and hopefully hold up.

“[Eric’s] been in the last couple of days and he’s in good spirits. It’s obviously a pretty tough year ahead for him, but he’s a ripper fella and he’ll get through it.”

As well as being impressed by a number of the club’s new recruits in Liam Duggan, Jackson Nelson and Tom Lamb, Masten also expects second-year midfielder Dom Sheed to have a big impact in 2015.

Sheed played 10 games in his first season as an Eagle, but was listed as a substitute for five of those matches, and Masten has noted his strong progress over the summer.

“He’s been fantastic,” Masten said.

“He’s really stepped up this year and I think the coaches have ridden him really hard and it’s come out really well for him because he’s playing fantastic footy at the minute and I think he’ll have a really good year.

“I expect him to be there most of the year in the guts and having a really good season because his pre-season has been exceptional.”