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Reinforcements helping Eagles fly high

Rhys Dickinson  May 14, 2018 3:00 PM

Brendon Ah Chee made his West Coast debut on Saturday

Brendon Ah Chee made his West Coast debut on Saturday

Brendon Ah Chee reckons West Coast’s ability to cover for the loss of fallen stars has played a significant part in the club’s fast start to season 2018.

The Eagles surprised several footy experts by beating flag fancies Greater Western Sydney on Saturday without the likes Nic Naitanui, Luke Shuey and Jeremy McGovern running around at Spotless stadium.

West Coast has called on reinforcements to replace several key players struck down by injury this year, including Dom Sheed, Lewis Jetta, Jack Petruccelle, Daniel Venables and Liam Ryan.

Ah Chee said the team was attacking this year’s campaign with a real ‘squad mentality’.

“I think that’s what has been really successful this year, that no matter who we’ve got in the team, it’s not about the players we’ve got, it’s about who comes in and just plays their role,” Ah Chee said.

“We had four players go out (last week) and some of them are pretty important to our team, but it just shows whoever comes in as long as they play their role we are in pretty good stead.

“GWS are a quality side and we managed to still get the job done. I think it gives faith to us as players and the belief grows, but the fans as well, it doesn’t matter who we play they should get excited about new players coming in.

“It’s just a good feeling around the club with all this youth coming through and the fans should have faith in the selection committee knowing that when boys are coming in they have a role and they’re going to do it the best they can.”

Ah Chee played his reinforcement role to perfection against the Giants, filling the void left by the injured Petruccelle.

He amassed 21 disposals, seven marks and five tackles in his first senior game for the Eagles since arriving at the club via a trade late last year.

The 24-year-old said he was chuffed to make his debut in blue and gold and play a small part in the club’s seventh win in a row and fourth away victory of the year.

“It was good just to come in and play that role and help out the forwards and mids when I had to. That’s what it’s all about,” he said.

Much like the club’s passionate supporters, Ah Chee admitted his mind was already wandering to Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash against Richmond.

He said the team was eager to test themselves against the reigning premiers, who sit atop the AFL ladder and are riding a wave of confidence following six-straight wins.

“We’ve sort of been building to a really big challenge like this and you can’t be the best unless you beat the best – and Richmond are the best in the competition,” Ah Chee said.

“We look forward to that and hopefully we get 60,000 people to come and have an amazing atmosphere and get us across the line.”