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West Coast Eagles

Who is West Coast's kick-in king?

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 21: Shannon Hurn of the Eagles kicks the ball during the 2018 AFL round 14 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Essendon Bombers at Optus Stadium on June 21, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Shannon Hurn took 62.3% of West Coast's kick-ins last year

2018 LEADERS: Shannon Hurn (129 kick-ins - 62.3% of team), Lewis Jetta (55 kick-ins - 28% of team)

Premiership skipper Shannon Hurn loved to kick to himself (he played on from 41 per cent of kick-ins) before scurrying away – almost always to the right-hand side back pocket – and bombing the ball as far as he could from the danger zone. With a host of big men to aim at – think Nic Naitanui, Nathan Vardy, Scott Lycett, Jeremy McGovern, Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling – it was an effective ploy and helped stretch defensive zones to open gaps for shorter kicks, where the Eagles could retain possession and spread the field with their elite ball use.

WILL IT BE THE SAME IN 2019?

Coach Adam Simpson recently said the Eagles were zeroing in on rule changes and trialling a few tactics, but it's difficult to foresee how much will change in terms of the kick-ins. Hurn and Lewis Jetta are both beautiful kicks who can pump the ball well outside 50m, so the Eagles might look to put pressure on opposition defences by going longer, but that in turn could offer easier short targets to hit if rival clubs look to protect the wings. Opponents will have a few headaches figuring out ways to stop West Coast turning defence into attack in a flash.