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West Coast Eagles

JLT2: Five things we learned

JLT highlights v Dockers The best moments from West Coast's victory over Fremantle in the JLT clash in Mandurah

1. If the Eagles fans were excited by the impact of the young group in 2018, they should be equally enthused by another couple of emerging young guns, with Oscar Allen and Jarrod Brander both wielding an influence. And they are both multi-faceted. Brander played back and on the wing while Allen played at either end of the ground.

2. Jack Darling is another player who looks in fine fettle as the season looms. He might have only kicked one goal himself, but was a ubiquitous threat, drawing a cluster of free kicks just from his threatening presence. And if the ball did hit the deck it was swarmed upon by the likes of Liam Ryan, Willie Rioli, Jack Petruccelle or Daniel Venables.

3. While Fremantle matched the intensity of the Eagles in the first half, trailing by less than a kick at half-time, the Eagles controlled the tempo after the main break. And Willie Rioli was a catalyst. The electrifying forward was outstanding all day, kicking four goals, but produced a stunning third quarter to virtually lock the game away.

4. The Tom Hickey-Nathan Vardy combination in the ruck provided the Eagles with an important edge, some of the ruck work simply sublime, particularly from Vardy. They also looked damaging forward, each kicking a goal. Hickey’s major came in the first quarter after he took the ball cleanly from a stoppage and snapped accurately, taking advantage of one of the lesser scrutinised new rules, with big men being able to take possession without surrendering prior opportunity.

5. The back six or seven players were again resolute. After a tough start when the Dockers kicked five of their eight goals, the Dockers found time and space a rare commodity. Tom Barrass was again exceptional, while Jeremy McGovern worked his way into the game. Shannon Hurn, Liam Duggan and Tom Cole did what they needed to do. Unfortunately, Brad Sheppard suffered from a high hit and a corked thigh in the one incident in the first term and played no further part.