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Rhys Dickinson  June 13, 2018 4:00 PM

Brander ready for Friday night debut Our 13th pick in the 2017 draft, Jarrod Brander, speaks about how he learnt of his call-up and what happened when he told his family.

A quiet dinner with a couple of teammates quickly turned into an impromptu party for first-year Eagle Jarrod Brander on Tuesday night.

The 19-year-old was enjoying a feed at a family friend’s place with Oscar Allen and Jack Petruccelle when his phone lit up and senior coach Adam Simpson’s name appeared on the display.

What happened next changed the course of the evening.

“I got a phone call from Simmo just asking me what I was up to and then he just let me know that I was playing this weekend and congratulated me. It was a pretty good moment,” Brander said.

“(Allen and Petruccelle) were pretty excited; they were pretty loud. I let my parents know afterwards and mum started crying when I let her know and dad was pretty happy. It was a pretty exciting time.”

Brander has earned his AFL debut off the back of several consistent performances with West Coast’s WAFL affiliate East Perth.

The athletic forward has booted 11 goals and averaged 6.6 marks in his eight appearances for the Royals, his most commanding performance coming against West Perth in round two when he amassed 19 disposals, 10 marks and kicked three majors at Leederville Oval.

It is fitting that Brander will make his AFL debut in New South Wales given he played the majority of his junior football for Wentworth Districts Football Club.

And while he gets his opportunity at the expense of Jack Darling – who suffered an ankle injury during West Coast’s recent win over St Kilda – Brander said Simpson and forwards coach Jaymie Graham would back him to play his natural game rather than attempt to replicate the feats of his senior teammate.

“I don’t think I’ll play in Jack’s role because he’s obviously a lot bigger than me,” he said.

“I think I’ll just play to my strengths and they’ll look to me to play my natural game, get involved and play my role for the team.

“I’m very grateful for (the opportunity) and I think it’ll be a very special moment. I grew up supporting the Eagles since I was about six years old, so it’ll be a pretty special moment to play for them for the first time.

“I’m not nervous yet, but I think I will be by the time Friday rolls around. I think the boys will get around me and support me pretty well, so I’ll be able to get through it.”