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West Coast Eagles

Jetta pumped for Waalitj Dreaming Game

Jetta press conference 13.05.19 Defender Lewis Jetta speaks to the media whilst wearing our Indigenous Guernsey for the first time!

Dashing defender Lewis Jetta cannot wait to represent his Noongar roots with pride in Friday night’s Waalitj Dreaming Game.

The Eagles have been granted special permission to wear their 2019 Indigenous guernsey for Friday’s clash with Melbourne, a week ahead of the official Sir Doug Nicholls Round launch.

Jetta said he was pumped to run onto Optus Stadium wearing the new ‘Wings of an Eagle’ garment, which draws inspiration from traditional Aboriginal ceremonial practice.

“The design is by Darryl Bellotti, who is a cousin of Laurie Bellotti who used to play back in the day here,” Jetta said.

“The wings on both sides, it (represents) ceremonial practice back in the day. The symbol (in the centre) represents the fan base, players and coaches and the staff.

“This one is amazing; it’s beautiful. It was a long process (choosing a design), but we were very happy with what Darryl provided to us.”

Jetta said the only thing that rivalled wearing an indigenous guernsey was donning a jumper with a Grand Final badge on it.

“I think for Indigenous players, every time we put a jumper on like this … you get very proud and you can see the smiles on your family’s faces when you run out with one of these jumpers on,” he said.

“Apart from Grand Finals, for me it is (the biggest round of the year).

“When I get back to the community down in Bunbury and see all the kids wanting to be like me growing up as a positive role model (it’s special).

“I can showcase what I do playing footy and be that positive role model to them. It’s amazing and it’s very big for me.”

The two-time premiership player hoped to have electric small forward Willie Rioli by his side on Friday night.

After missing the first eight rounds due to a stress-related foot injury, Rioli is in the frame to face the Demons after stepping up his training program in recent weeks.

“He's tracking really well, he's running around, moving, kicking goals,” Jetta said of Rioli.

“I'm not too sure when he's going to be back, he's very close, but we'll see how we go.

“You'll probably have to ask Simmo that one (if Rioli comes straight back in). Leave it with Simmo and the coaching staff.”

Jetta said Friday night’s clash with Melbourne was another opportunity for the Eagles to prove their wares in season 2019.

He felt the team was tracking in an upward trajectory following gritty wins against Gold Coast and St Kilda, but acknowledged those triumphs would have little bearing on what could be a very physical contest against the Demons.

“I think at the start of the season we weren’t playing our best,” Jetta admitted.

“We’ve just worked on what we’ve needed to at training and it kind of showed on the weekend against (the) Saints and … Gold Coast (before that). (We’ve strung) a couple of wins together.

“Melbourne are a very contested side as well, so it’s going to be a good challenge for us.”