A string of West Coast Eagles young hopefuls will get the opportunity to press for early season selections when the club makes its entry in the Marsh Community Series against Essendon at Mineral Resources Park on Thursday afternoon.

Tall utility player Jarrod Brander, ruckman-forward Bailey Williams, small forward Anthony Treacy, midfielders Hamish Brayshaw, Xavier O’Neill and Brayden Ainsworth and defenders Harry Edwards and Ben Johnson have all been named in a squad of 30.

In addition to that, some more experienced campaigners will also take the field, led by high profile recruit Tim Kelly, defender Francis Watson and utility player Brendon Ah Chee.

All have been rewarded for strong pre-season performances and will be looking to press the advantage as round one looms in about three weeks.

Brander has been one of the stand-outs on the track throughout the pre-season and deserves an opportunity. He has been deployed both forward and on a wing in the club’s match simulation, but has been selected at centre half-forward in the absence of injured pair Oscar Allen (ankle) and Jack Darling (cheek).

Williams has also been solid, working alongside and against ruck star Nic Naitanui, particularly at times when Tom Hickey and Nathan Vardy (both of whom are named) have been on managed training programs.

The presence of Kelly, who has joined the club after two years at Geelong, will assume most attention as he continues to develop his connection with Naitanui and co. in the engine room.

The game starts at 4.40pm and the club urges those attending to use public transport.