Second-year midfielder Hamish Brayshaw is loving his time at the WAFL Eagles and enjoying the opportunity to develop his leadership skills with the club’s inaugural state league side.
Having spent last season representing West Coast’s former alignment team, East Perth, Brayshaw said having an Eagles’ WAFL side had allowed for greater cohesion among the 46-man playing group.
“It’s been a really good year for the club having our own WAFL team,” Brayshaw said.
“Last year at East Perth there was some really good guys there and the boys loved being down there, but I think having our own team has helped with continuity and made things a lot easier. It’s certainly made a difference with training, just having everyone in the one spot.
“To have everyone playing in a West Coast Eagles jumper has made it more of a whole-club feel too. With guys coming back and then blokes who have been playing WAFL games getting a chance at AFL, it sort of gives everyone a lift and all the boys are really loving it this year.”
The WAFL Eagles got off to a rocky start to their inaugural season, losing seven of their first nine games.
However, the team has managed to turn its season around in recent weeks, recording four-straight wins from rounds 12-15.
Brayshaw said the team’s attitude and commitment did not waver during its tough WAFL induction.
“We didn’t start off as we would’ve liked,” he said.
“We lost some tight games, but we were always in the contest. The boys have really just gelled together and I think that has shown the last month-and-a-half.
“We won four games in a row, unfortunately lost to Subi on the weekend, but the spirit and the morale in the WAFL has been really evident and even in losses we still managed to stay upbeat, which has really helped us in the last month-and-a-half with the wins that we’ve had.”
Brayshaw has been a consistent performer for the WAFL Eagles this season and has made the most of his role in the midfield.
The on-baller has averaged 21.6 disposals across 10 games, ranking him among the side’s top-five ball winners.
“This is the most football I’ve played in a row since arriving at the club, so just on that standpoint it’s been really good,” Brayshaw said.
“To get a little bit of the football is an added bonus. I’m just sort of relishing the chance to play a lot of midfield minutes, but just to be around the club at the moment, it’s a really good feeling.”
He is also ranked among the club’s most fierce tacklers, equalling fellow midfielder Brady Grey’s total of 70 effective takedowns this year.
The 21-year-old said he prided himself on his physicality at the contest.
“I think for the longest time that’s been a way for me to get into a game,” Brayshaw explained.
“If I’m not getting a lot of the football I can hang my hat on my pressure and tackling.
“It’s not something I go into every game thinking I want to have this amount of tackles. But being around the midfield you get a lot of chances to put some body on and being a bigger boy I find that that’s a good way for me to get into the game.”
While Brayshaw is working on getting the most out of his game, he has also taken it upon himself to be a leader within the group this year.
“The leadership stuff sort of comes with playing consistent football for me,” he said.
“That’s just the personality that I am; I just try to bring energy and spirit to the team.”