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Mitchell impressed with emerging leaders

Rhys Dickinson  February 5, 2018 12:45 PM

Mitchell press conference 05.02.18 West Coast's new midfield coach speaks to the Perth media

West Coast’s leaders are doing more than setting the on-field standard this pre-season, according to Sam Mitchell.

Adam Simpson has given his players a licence to take charge of their training program and, as a result, several have taken on the added responsibility of crafting and coordinating drills.

Mitchell said the players’ proactive approach proved they were driven to get better.

“We’ve got a group of really strong leaders who can take us to the next level in terms of shaping the game themselves rather than having it always come from coaches,” he said.

“We know we’re doing a good job when the players are driving a lot of the program and at the moment they have taken the next step in terms of designing drills for us and implementing drills to help us improve in areas that are a focus for us.”

Mitchell suggested skipper Shannon Hurn and vice-captains Luke Shuey and Josh Kennedy were at the forefront of the campaign, but he said several other emerging leaders were contributing to the cause.

“Jeremy McGovern has been coming up with defensive drills to help everyone defend, hopefully, half as well as he can,” he revealed.

“When you get that buy in from the players it really puts you on the right track.”

Expanding on the leadership discussion, Mitchell felt 2016 John Worsfold medallist Luke Shuey had taken command of the midfield group in the absence of former on-ball inspiration Matt Priddis.

The midfield coach said Shuey was also getting plenty of support from the likes of Andrew Gaff and Jack Redden.

“Pridda was the leader of this club’s midfield, from what I can tell as an outsider the last 10 years,” Mitchell said.

"So much of what this midfield has been about is off the back of Pridda. And so now with him going out of the side, there is that void, not just of a position, but of that leadership.

“I think Luke Shuey, Jack Redden and Andrew Gaff, these guys are all strong leaders of our footy club and I think they can help share the load. But I think Luke Shuey will lead the way in the midfield and I’m sure when things aren’t going well I’ll be on the phone to him when he’s on the bench to say, ‘Okay, what's going on down there?’.

“He’s the guy that can look after what he has to do, but he’s also experienced enough to now see what’s going on with the big picture, which is really important on the field.”