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Duggan to lead young Eagles

Gary Stocks  February 12, 2018 1:00 PM

DugganXlead landscape.jpg

Liam Duggan will captain West Coast's inaugural AFLX team

The next generation of West Coast Eagles will showcase their skills in the AFL’s latest and most exciting iteration of Australian football when AFLX is launched at Adelaide’s Hindmarsh Stadium on Thursday night.

With the exception of utility player Liam Duggan, the club’s rising star in 2017, defenders Jackson Nelson and Tom Cole and forward Malcolm Karpany, the players selected in a 15-man squad for this innovative round robin carnival have not been exposed to senior football.

Of the other 11 players, 10 have been drafted in the last 15 months, with the odd man out being key forward Matt Allen, who was secured in the 2015 player ballot.

Effectively the club will unveil two season’s worth of new draftees, with untimely injuries preventing the likes of Daniel Venables, Jake Waterman, Willie Rioli, Josh Rotham and Francis Watson from earning an opportunity when form warranted a chance last year.

A number of players who were selected by the club last November will get an early chance to strut their stuff, including key position player Jarrod Brander, lightning fast small forward Jack Petruccelle, rookie-listed midfielder Ryan Burrows and Subiaco midfielder Brayden Ainsworth.

Spring-heeled forward Liam Ryan was not considered because the arrival of his first child is imminent.         

AFLX is played on a rectangular field with 10 players taking part in each game – seven on the ground at any one time and three interchange players. It is played at break-neck speed and is sure to enthral.

The Eagles will play Adelaide and Collingwood in Pool B at a traditional soccer venue, while Port Adelaide, Fremantle and Geelong will play in the other pool. The two highest ranked teams after the two qualifying games will play the grand final.

Similar round robins involving six teams each will be played in Sydney and Melbourne.

AFLX is a concept that could prove adaptable in overseas markets, particularly where football ovals are scarce and playing numbers are thin.     

West Coast Eagles AFLX squad
Hindmarsh Stadium - Thursday, February 15

10  Jarrod Brander
14  Liam Duggan (c)
18  Daniel Venables
21  Jack Petruccelle
22  Hamish Brayshaw
26  Francis Watson
28  Tom Cole
30  Jackson Nelson
32  Ryan Burrows
33  Brayden Ainsworth
35  Josh Rotham
39  Malcolm Karpany
43  Matt Allen
44  Willie Rioli
45  Jake Waterman