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West Coast Eagles

Smith claims time trial crown

The 2km Time Trial On day 1 of the official preseason and the return of the senior players, the boys are put through their paces in sweltering conditions

New West Coast rookie Josh Smith started his first pre-season as an Eagle in style by taking out the club’s two kilometre time trial.

The former Collingwood Magpie beat the heat and two-time all-Australian Andrew Gaff to claim the 2019 pre-season time trial crown at the Western Australian Athletics Stadium this morning.

Gaff led for the majority of the run, but Smith made his move at the midway point of the fourth lap and held on to lead the pack home.

Livewire defender Jackson Nelson placed third, developing onballer Matt Allen finished in fourth and emerging midfielder Brayden Ainsworth rounded out the top five.

Reigning champion Chris Masten was absent from the gruelling slog, as were noted runners Liam Duggan, Elliot Yeo and Jamie Cripps.

In spite of the searing conditions, several Eagles clocked personal best times.

Premiership-winning tagger Mark Hutchings was the big improver, slashing 13 seconds off his best run since arriving at West Coast in 2013, while second-year Eagle Hamish Brayshaw motored his way around the stadium, picking up 12 seconds on his 2017 time-trial run.

Brendon Ah Chee and Allen bettered their personal best time by 10 seconds, Nelson ran seven seconds quicker than his previous best effort and Ainsworth knocked six seconds off his 2017 mark.

Reigning Norm Smith medallist Luke Shuey also impressed, recording his fastest time trial run in five years, and Tom Hickey was the best of the big men, cruising through his five-lap circuit of the track.

The entire squad convened at Subiaco Oval after the time trial, where the likes of Josh Kennedy and Nic Naitanui made appearances on the training track.

Time trial top five:

1. Josh Smith
2. Andrew Gaff
3. Jackson Nelson
4. Matt Allen
5. Brayden Ainsworth