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Brander gets his big break

Gary Stocks  June 13, 2018 12:40 PM

Jarrod Brander has been one of East Perth's most consistent performers this year

Jarrod Brander has been one of East Perth's most consistent performers this year

The transition of the West Coast Eagles team will advance even further when key forward Jarrod Brander becomes the club’s eighth debutant in the club’s 12th game of the season.

After having the mid-season bye last week, the Eagles will resume against Sydney on Friday night at the SCG and the 195cm Brander will be on the plane.

Eagles senior coach Adam Simpson revealed as much at his press conference ahead of the team’s trip east to play the only club that has beaten his team this year. The Swans beat West Coast in the round one game at Optus Stadium in round one.

Since that loss the Eagles have won 10 straight in a season that has seen a steady stream of debutants from the classes of the 2016-17 draft and trade period.

It started with Jake Waterman, Liam Ryan and Daniel Venables being injected into the opening round against Sydney and has been followed by Willie Rioli (Round 2), Jack Petruccelle (Round 6), Brendon Ah Chee and Brayden Ainsworth (Round 8).

Ah Chee is the most senior of those players, the club trading him onto the list from Port Adelaide at the end of last season.

Brander, 19, was the club’s first selection in the 2017 ballot at selection 13, and made an impact in the pre-season matches before starting the season at East Perth where he has put together a solid body of work.

Strong overhead and athletic, Brander was an all-Australian under-18s player last year for the Allies.

An Eagles supporter as a child, despite hailing from regional Victoria and being drafted from the Bendigo Pioneers, he comes into the team for the injured Jack Darling.

Darling started the season in red-hot form, but could miss a month of football after suffering an ankle injury in the first quarter of the round 11 victory against St Kilda.