Exciting young forward Noah Long has shared how being surrounded by veteran Eagles has helped the youngsters as they start to carve out their own careers in the blue and gold.
Long has exceeded expectations since his arrival at the club, playing 19 games in his debut season and cracking the top-10 in the 2023 John Worsfold Medal count.
“We’re pretty lucky, although there’s so many young boys on the list at the moment, we’re also fortunate enough to have so many older veterans who have been around for a while,” Long told SEN WA on Thursday afternoon.
“They’ve played in big games, they’ve had big careers and they’ve been great players.
“The one for me has obviously been ‘Crippa’ (Jamie Cripps), who I probably work closest with, due to my position, but to have someone like that around that you can just go to and pick their brain.
"Likewise for the mids boys with (Luke) Shuey, and the taller forwards with ‘JD’ (Jack Darling), we know how lucky we are to have this experience around us, particularly when we’ve got such a young list and it’s all about learning at the moment.”
Gravitating to Cripps in particular, Long said he feels fortunate to be able to learn from the fellow forward.
“He’s been super helpful for me across last year and this pre-season,” Long said.
“I’m lucky to have someone like him who plays a very similar position to what I do.
“I count myself very lucky to be able to learn off someone like him day in and day out.”
Entering his second year as an Eagle, Long said he’s transitioning well into life as an AFL footballer.
“You take a bit of a jump in your second year,” Long said.
“You know the system a little bit more and you know your routine a little bit better.
“So, it’s been a little bit smoother of a transition into this pre-season compared to last year.”
Looking forward to the 2024 season, Long said he just likes to focus on what he can control.
“I definitely like to base my game around pressure and work rate and those things that I can control,” Long said.
“And then I find, when you speak to a lot of the coaches and players, that the game and your touches and hopefully goals can then stem from that.
“I just like to go in every week and focus on pressure, and that side of things, and hope the rest comes from that.”