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12:13pm  Dec 8, 2017

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Fit Venables ready to fire

Rhys Dickinson  December 7, 2017 4:15 PM

Venables embracing the heat Second-year midfielder Daniel Venables chats with Eagle Eye TV about the commencement of the 2018 pre-season
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Daniel Venables wants to make an impression this pre-season

Budding West Coast midfielder Daniel Venables is hoping for a better run of luck this year after injuries cruelled his 2017 campaign.

The Eagles’ first selection in the 2016 draft spent all of last year’s pre-season rehabilitating a foot injury but managed to get himself right for the start of the 2017 WAFL season.

After impressing in two reserves outings, Venables broke into East Perth’s league team and played eight consecutive matches, averaging 13 disposals and more than a goal a game.

Fit, firing and in form, Venables was set to make his AFL debut against Geelong in round 13, but in one of the last drills of a light skills sessions the Western Jets product fell awkwardly and hobbled from the training track.

What seemed like an innocuous incident at the time proved to be much more serious; scans revealed Venables had succumbed to a bout of turf toe.

“Looking back at it, it’s pretty funny, but it was pretty heartbreaking at the time,” Venables said.

“Last year just at a training drill on a Monday morning Simmo came up to me and asked me if I was ready to play and gave me a little hint and towards the end of the training session I hurt my big toe, which kind of cost me my debut. That’s footy and I’m sure I’ll look back at it in a couple of years’ time and laugh about it.”

Fortunately, Venables is feeling 100 per cent leading into this year’s pre-season campaign. And he intends to stay healthy for fear of missing out on one of West Coast’s most exciting summers in recent history.

Ten new players joined the club during the trade and draft periods and there are several spots ripe for the picking following the retirements of senior Eagles Matt Priddis, Sam Butler, Sam Mitchell, Drew Petrie and Jonathan Giles.

“This year is definitely different to last year with a lot of new draftees coming in and a really young list,” Venables said.

“You can tell at training and in the locker rooms just how excited the boys are. There is a bit of a buzz going around.

“There’s plenty of spots up for grabs, so I guess it’s going to be a tough but exciting pre-season. I think anyone is in with a chance.”

As eager as he is to make his AFL debut, Venables knows he has to put in the hard yards to make his dream a reality.

“My body is feeling pretty good at the moment. I don’t think there are any limitations on me at training, I’m just in full training at the moment until I’m told otherwise, which is exciting for me,” he said.

“Obviously the long-term goal is to play AFL football and, I guess, play as many games as possible next year. But then I’ve got to look back, I haven’t played too much football the past couple of seasons.

“I’d love to get a full pre-season into me and see what I can do and see how my body goes. If I get a full pre-season into me I think it’s exciting, potentially, about what I could be able to do.”