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Brayshaw ready for big pre-season

Nathan Schmook, AFL.com.au  December 4, 2017 9:50 AM

Brayshaw press conference 01.12.17 West Coast Eagles draftee Hamish Brayshaw speaks to the media after being drafted to the Eagles with pick 68 in the 2017 National Draft
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Hamish Brayshaw is looking forward to working hard this pre-season

West Coast draftee Hamish Brayshaw is targeting a gruelling pre-season before thinking about his first AFL game after joining a massive group of Eagles who will be fighting to make their debuts next year.

The Eagles have an AFL-high 16 players who are yet to taste senior football (the Western Bulldogs have a League-low of seven) after picking up six players at the NAB AFL Draft and three new rookies.

The draftees joined first-year players Daniel Venables, Josh Rotham, Willie Rioli and Jake Waterman, second-year tall forward Matthew Allen, and category-B rookies Tarir Bayok and Francis Watson in waiting to make their debuts. 

Getting young players into the team while also winning games was a balance coach Adam Simpson grappled with in 2017, and it is likely to remain a focus next year as a new breed of Eagles fight to make an impact. 

"It's a while away from here, I've still got to get through a hard pre-season, but definitely looking forward to just giving it my all and earning the respect of the players," Brayshaw said. 

"If it does happen it happens, but there's a lot of hard work to go before then."

After a 2016 junior season interrupted by foot injuries, Brayshaw has been able to springboard into his first AFL pre-season thanks to a focus on elite preparation in 2017.

"I did a bit of extra work in the gym, I was doing lots of boxing, lots of extra running and bike, so I tried my best to keep up and keep fit and my body healthy so I could play consecutive games in a row," the tough midfielder said. 

"I think I played maybe five or six games in a row last year, and then was out through injury, so I really wanted this year gone to get in and have a good string of games.

"I was lucky enough to not miss a game through injury this year, so I think just 'prehabbing' my body and getting myself strong and injury free was probably the biggest thing that I changed."

Brayshaw said he would seek out the club's older players to learn from in his first season, with a number already returning to the club early to start their pre-season preparations.

He said brother Andrew – drafted by Fremantle with pick No.2 – was welcome to move in with his host family and would make a decision after living with Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe until the end of the year. 

"My host mum is a mad Fremantle supporter, so she's happy to accommodate him," he said.

"I think he's staying with a player (Fyfe) for the first month until Christmas, then he'll decide.

"If he does live with me that'll be great, but if not we've got our same off days and I'll have a car, so it'll be easy to catch up with him.

"He's got a pretty handy player to learn off with Fyfe."