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12:13pm  Dec 8, 2017

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Eagles could unleash new-look forward line

Rhys Dickinson  December 6, 2017 11:40 AM

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Adam Simpson says West Coast has plenty of forwards to pick from in 2018

West Coast senior coach Adam Simpson is open to the idea of unleashing a new-look forward line in 2018.

Speaking ahead of the club’s first full-squad training session at Lathlain Park, Simpson said an influx of exciting goal kickers plus the development of some young attacking players might influence who lined up the forward 50 next year.

“With our side last year and the balance, we probably had too many mids in our side and that’s probably through the lack of options we had in forwards,” Simpson said.

“I think with [Liam] Ryan, [Willie] Rioli, [Mark] LeCras, [Jamie] Cripps and someone like a [Daniel] Venables that they all could play in the same side.

“It will be different.”

Like the majority of West Coast fans, Simpson is looking forward to seeing what excitement machine Liam Ryan could produce this pre-season.

Simpson reckoned the 21-year-old was ready to seize his AFL opportunity after missing out in last year’s draft.

“His attitude in general and he’s a bit older; I think having a couple years at WAFL level and the system down at Subiaco, we have really benefitted from that,” he said.

“The time trial, he ran that really well. He’s trained every session and he looks right to go.”

As the squad readies itself for another premiership tilt, they also started preparations for a new era at Optus Stadium with a tour of the almost-complete facility yesterday.

Simpson said the playing group was pumped about playing at Western Australia’s new home of football.

“It is a great stadium and I think our players have been anticipating with a lot of confidence what they can do there,” Simpson said.

“But getting out on the ground and looking at our rooms – they are our rooms which are branded with our colours – and having a look at the stadium was magnificent for everyone.

“That’s the part of getting out there early, trying to make it feel like home as quick as we can. It’s a pretty big stadium and it’s round one against Sydney where we will get 60,000 there.

“Trying to anticipate what that’s going to feel like and preparing for it starts now.”