West Coast will unveil three debutants in Saturday’s RAC Derby with Charlie Thomas, Evie Gooch and Aimee Schmidt named to line up in their first game for the blue and gold.

Thomas is the Eagles’ first draft pick and is a versatile midfielder with the ability to play forward if needed, and will provide the composure and poise needed to debut in round one, according to senior coach Michael Prior.

 “We’re looking forward to a long career out of Charlie and she’s got the right temperament and attitude to be a very good player for a long time” AFLW senior coach Michael Prior said.

“She’s got great ball sense, marking ability, she’s very good in traffic, so we think those roles across the midfield and forward-line will really suit her.

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Thomas to make debut

Eagles first round pick, Charlie Thomas, has been selected to make her debut in Round 1 against the Dockers in the RAC Derby

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“She showed a couple of bits of play in that Fremantle game, with her work in tight and in traffic it’s pretty special.

“I think in her head it doesn’t matter who she’s playing or who she’s up against, she just backs her ability in the situation and goes from there.

“She’s done enough to put her hand up for selection and she’ll make her debut tomorrow, which is exciting.”

Former Docker Gooch will also player her first match in West Coast colours, slotting into the experienced backline alongside Tayla Bresland and Amber Ward.

As one of the more senior players of the group, Gooch will play in a deeper role across the backline as a distributor, taking the kick-ins and moving the ball from West Coast’s defensive 50.

“I think she will play a key defensive role, she comes with a lot of experience and she’s played a lot of footy,” Prior said.

“She’s something that we desperately needed, we were lacking in our defence, especially in that area.

“Leadership, experience, all those sort of qualities, you get that with ‘Goochie’.

“She’s done enough over the summer and took a couple of intercept marks in our practice match against Fremantle and used the ball well down in Cockburn.

“She kicks the ball really well, she’s got great leadership and we look forward to her helping us improve in the back half.”

Schmidt relocated to Perth from Greater Western Sydney during the sign-and-trade period.

The key forward has shown her ability across the pre-season, booting multiple goals in the intra-club match and one in the pre-season practice game against 2021 finalists, Fremantle.

“’Schmidty’ will play predominantly as a high forward, a half-forward, pushing up the ground and then obviously being that one that can kick the ball inside 50, which is really good and a strength of hers,” Prior said.

“But the other thing that she’s done in the practice match is hit the scoreboard as well, so she’ll play a hybrid role.

“She also brings experience, she’s had a fantastic summer, been really impressed with what she’s delivered for us on the training track.

“Like ‘Goochie’, she’s fitted in really well, the girls really love being around her and you can tell she really loves being here at the club.

“We’ve got another really quality player who has a good overhead and uses the ball really well in our front half.

“So we think with our two debutants in Schmidt and Gooch it really adds to our team.”