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West Coast Eagles

Van Berlo excited by Eagles’ small forwards

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 20: during the 2019 AFL round 14 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Essendon Bombers at Optus Stadium on June 20, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos)
Nathan van Berlo is enjoying what he's seeing from West Coast's forward line this year

West Coast midfield coach Nathan van Berlo is loving what he’s seeing from West Coast’s dynamic forward line this season.

The Eagles have unleashed a new attacking set-up in 2019 featuring a few fresh faces.

The addition of youngsters Jack Petruccelle and Jarrod Cameron into a forward line featuring the likes of Liam Ryan, Willie Rioli and Jamie Cripps has helped create plenty of headaches for opposition defences this season.

Speaking to SEN Adelaide, van Berlo praised the side’s small forwards ahead of Sunday’s clash with the Crows.

“It really helps when you’ve got two veterans in Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy, who I guess are our two pillars down there,” van Berlo said.

“The little fellas we’ve got at ground level certainly help, with providing pressure and providing outlets around the ground as well.

“The development that we’ve seen in some of those younger guys without Jamie Cripps playing as much as he would have liked has been really important for us.

“We’ve seen some development in the likes of Jack Petrucelle and Jarrod Cameron over the last couple of months as well.”

Petruccelle (19 goals from 16 games this season) and Cameron (11 goals from seven games) have both had an immediate scoreboard while adding plenty of speed and pressure to the Eagles’ forward line.

Van Berlo also spoke glowingly of second-year forward Liam Ryan, who last week took a Mark of the Year contender with a courageous grab that drew comparisons to that of Jonathan and Nick Riewoldt in the early 2000’s.

“It was a pretty special mark from Liam,” he said.

“He’s been a real brave soldier in the contest from the coach’s point of view and the players love playing with him.

“He can do some pretty special things in the air, but that’s probably one of his most special efforts.”