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Hutchings keeping things simple

Rhys Dickinson  March 7, 2018 4:10 PM

Mark Hutchings leaves Fremantle's Andrew Brayshaw in his wake

Mark Hutchings leaves Fremantle's Andrew Brayshaw in his wake

Mark Hutchings says he is eager to lock down a spot in West Coast’s midfield during Sunday’s JLT Community Series encounter with Fremantle in Joondalup.

The run-with specialist recently told 6PR’s Sportsday WA team that several players were locked in a battle to secure a spot in the Eagles’ engine room ahead of the club’s round one clash with Sydney.

In spite of having 75 AFL games to his name, Hutchings said he was no guarantee to start against the Swans on March 25.

He said a mix of experienced campaigners and new Eagles were in the mix to start in the middle at Optus Stadium’s first official AFL fixture.

When queried by Karl Langdon on where he might be in the midfield pecking order, Hutchings responded: “I try not to think about it too hard; I like to keep things simple and that’s playing the best I can and proving myself. But as I’ve said, we’ve got a few good young boys coming through. Duggo (Liam Duggan), he played off half-back last year, he’ll be pushing through the midfield. We’ve got a few draftees; it just keeps you on your toes. The kids who get drafted seem to be better than they were the year before. I’m not losing sleep over it. I’m pretty relaxed because I just like playing footy, doing the best I can and I’ve been doing well so far. I just need to maintain that.”

Hutchings was one of West Coast’s best performers in Sunday’s practice match against Fremantle at Lathlain Oval.

The dogged on-baller collected 25 disposals, six marks, six contested possessions and two marks against Ross Lyon’s men.

He said it was good to get some extra run in the legs and play alongside plenty of the club's up-and-coming stars.

“Freo had a pretty strong team and they played well, they won by a few goals, but for us, we sort of had a plan of getting some fresh faces into the jumper,” Hutchings said.

“The excitement and energy came through on the weekend and even though we lost we still put in a good performance. We get a few players back this week for our last praccy game and then off we go.”

West Coast will announce its JLT2 squad tomorrow afternoon and Hutchings – a West Perth product – is desperate to play at his old stomping ground.

He hoped another good performance against the Dockers would shore up his place in the starting 22.

“I’m certainly keen to play this week. I don’t want any weeks off this time of year,” he said.

“The boys at this time of the year are getting a bit toey because the season is just around the corner.

“I’m still feeling fresh and you want to get that game touch and that match fitness into you.”