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West Coast Eagles

JLT Rules Review: Eagles adapt to changes

MANDURAH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10 : Adam Simpson, Senior Coach of the Eagles coach addresses the team at three quarter time break during the 2019 JLT Community Series match between the Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles at Ruston Park on March 09, 2019 in Mandurah, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Adam Simpson addresses the playing group during West Coast's JLT Series clash with Fremantle

Midfield: There wasn't anything funky about West Coast's midfield setup, with main quartet Luke Shuey, Jack Redden, Elliot Yeo and Andrew Gaff attending the majority of centre bounces. The Eagles held their own against Geelong's gun engine room and belted Freo's inexperienced midfield. Adam Simpson must be licking his lips at the prospect of Nic Naitanui coming back to feed Shuey and co. after seeing the impact of a dominant centre-square quartet.

Rucks: The Eagles look set to stick with their two-ruck policy and will be hoping Tom Hickey can shoulder the majority of the ruck load given Nathan Vardy's proven ability to fit into the forward line.

Back six at the bounce: There was nothing out of the box in terms of positioning and the biggest talking point heading into the season is whether starting positions will impact Jeremy McGovern's intercept marking prowess. While he has started on an opponent at centre bounces in the past, the Eagles star has been quiet during the JLT, although you would expect that is mainly due to working back from rib surgery.

Forwards at the bounce: The Eagles rotated their big men Jack Darling, Nathan Vardy and Oscar Allen through the goalsquare and usually sent their smalls to the edge of the 50m arc, providing more space behind for one-on-one marking contests for their talls after clean centre bounce takeaways.

Kick-ins: Superboot Shannon Hurn took the majority of kick-ins in the Eagles' win over Fremantle and his disposal stats were slightly higher than last year's season average of 21.2, with the skipper taking metreage from the goalsquare on a number of occasions.

Other observations: The Eagles struggled to adapt to the starting position changes in their first JLT clash with Geelong and players coming onto the ground after a goal were rushed several times getting into position. It became clear that umpires weren't giving players the usual allotted time, rather than a club issue, and it wasn't a problem in West Coast's second hitout against Fremantle.