There are 45 players on the Gold Coast aspiring for a spot in a 22-man West Coast team. Two men competing for every available position.
We know that’s the maths, but in reality that is not so; some of those youngsters are developing and while making progress are not quite ready and conversely there are a number of senior players who are locked into the line-up.
That’s why there is a sense of excitement when a young player gets his chance. It’s tough to push through and get that opportunity.
When the captain’s run was held today at the High Performance Centre at the Royal Pines Resort, there were some new faces in the squad. They were not chosen to play. But are on the periphery of selection and being named in the 26-man squad is an endorsement that they are close to an opportunity.
Brayden Ainsworth played three games in his first year, the 2018 premiership season, Bailey Williams has been discussed often at match committee in 2020, but has not yet made the final cut while Harry Edwards has been eye-catching as an emerging tall defender.
The other emergency was Josh Rotham, who played against Brisbane, lost his spot against Port Adelaide, but is pushing hard to earn a recall.
Then there were the four players who came back in – Jake Waterman, who could have done no more than he has in scrimmage and training to get another crack, Jeremy McGovern, returning from an ankle injury, Jackson Nelson vaulted back into defence and Oscar Allen who will play the second ruck role in support of Nic Naitanui.
The match committee has oscillated on the right mix in the ruck, but a lack of regular ‘talls’ for Sydney means Allen gets another hit at it this week.
Again the captain’s run maintained the practice of rolling through in their lines – midfielders, forwards and defenders taking it in turns to roll through the makeshift ground that has been created on site.