Flying visit supports devastated town
EVERY week there are lessons to be learned from playing in the AFL.
Against Fremantle a couple of weeks ago we were slow to get going, so a key focus was for us to get away to a better start.
We took that into Sunday’s game against Brisbane at the Gabba and we were much more proactive against the Lions. It was good to get out of the blocks, build a handy lead and then build on it throughout the rest of the game.
Something else that was satisfying was seeing Fraser McInnes make his AFL debut. We all know how hard he has worked for that opportunity and all of us were happy for him to get his chance after being on the list for four years.
Frase was one of a few young players who have come into the team this year and had an impact.
Jackson Nelson and Liam Duggan were drafted only last year and Dom Sheed came in the year before. They have all done a great job and Duggo was really impressive when he subbed into the game against the Lions late in the third quarter.
I was on the receiving end of a bullet pass from Duggo in the last quarter and it reminded me of the precise kicking skills of Shannon Hurn.
This week we play GWS, an emerging team that is going to be tough to beat at Subiaco Oval.
While they had access to some of the best young talent in the country for a few years, they have done a good job in recruiting some experienced players like Callan Ward, Tom Scully, Heath Shaw, Shane Mumford and Ryan Griffen. WEST Coast representatives, including former champion Dean Cox, headed to Carnarvon earlier this month to meet locals following the devastation caused by Cyclone Olwyn.
The mid-March cyclone wreaked havoc in the town, flattening banana plantations, family homes and community centres.
A delegation of West Coast representatives, headed by the games record holder and current ruck coach, arrived on Saturday to put smiles on the faces of residents.
Joining Cox was emerging small forward Malcolm Karpany, Phil Narkle, who was a member of the club’s inaugural squad in 1987, and former West Coast rookie Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls.
The club has a strong affinity with the region, having held its community camp in the town several years ago after a similarly devastating system flattened everything in its path.
Over the course of the weekend, the Eagles entourage visited several of the affected banana plantations and other areas of the town.
They attended a community event on Saturday afternoon and presented trophies at a local speedway meeting, giving the Carnarvon residents a sense that there is support as they go about the tough process of rebuilding.
Cox said the visit was short but he left feeling like he had made a small difference to the people of Carnarvon.
“We had a great time up there; the people were fantastic,” he said.
“The banana plantations have been devastated; they’re going to be out of commission for nearly a year at least, so they’ve really taken a hit.
“But they’re resilient people and lovely people. They were extremely welcoming to us and couldn’t have made us feel more welcome.
“We just hope we raised their spirits a little.”
Community Newspaper Group is an affiliated partner of the West Coast Eagles.
Phil Narkle, Dean Cox, Malcolm Karpany, Carnarvon local Sas Richards and Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls.