Injuries open up new opportunities
THROUGH pre-season and into the first eight rounds of the year, a lot has been made of our injury list, which has been quite extensive.
We obviously know that we’re not going to see Mitch Brown or Eric Mackenzie this year and that’s incredibly disappointing. As teammates you hurt for them because you know how much work they have done to prepare for the season.
Aside from Eric and Browny, we have also been without Scott Selwood and Jack Darling. Then Simon Tunbridge suffered a serious ankle injury and a couple of the young blokes – Murray Newman, Damien Cavka and Tom Lamb – have all spent most of the season in the rehab group, recovering from injuries.
Unfortunately it's part of football and you feel for them.
It has created an opportunity for some of the younger guys and they could hardly have been more impressive.
Coach Adam Simpson used his postmatch media conference after our St Kilda win last week to campaign for first-year midfielder Liam Duggan to be nominated as the Rising Star for round eight.
We all want that to happen because we reckon he deserves the recognition.
I was on the end of some lace-out passes from Duggo and I am going to enjoy playing in front of him for a long time. He has become an important part of a midfield unit, which is really doing a great job.
With the backs and mids doing their thing so well, it’s made life a bit easy for those of us playing forward. THE West Coast Eagles have always had a strong connection with indigenous Australia, starting, in a playing sense, through the presence of Chris Lewis and Phil Narkle as part of the inaugural 35-man playing squad.
Along the 29-year journey of the club, it has boasted some of the most exciting indigenous players in the country; Lewis, Narkle, Peter Matera, Ashley Sampi, Troy Ugle, David Wirrpanda, Phil Matera and current players like Sharrod Wellingham, Jamie Bennell and Josh Hill among them.
They have made an enormous contribution to the game and have delighted West Coast fans along the way.
West Coast’s annual home game to mark Indigenous Round occurs this Sunday afternoon, when the Eagles host Geelong.
The club, which last year launched its first specially designed indigenous guernsey, based on the work of local Noongar artist Peter Farmer, has unveiled a striking yellow version of that jumper to wear this weekend.
The guernsey tells the story of the waalitj (wedge-tailed eagle), which is the strongest totem in Noongar culture. The traditional Noongar dreaming story is about a great drought; one where the animals and Noongar people could not find any freshwater sources.
The waalitj’s eye was the only one that could find water from searching high up in the sky. The Noongar people followed him and always found a fresh water source.
His strength and power is respected and revered throughout Noongar country because of his capacity to not simply overcome adversity, but to succeed in places that others fail.
Sunday’s match day activities will be themed to acknowledge, celebrate and pay tribute to the contribution Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples have made to football.
Part of these activities include helping to promote the work of the Wirrpanda Foundation to reduce the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in our society, as well as assist in raising money to enable this work to continue.
Wirrpanda Foundation pashmina scarves, jigsaws, pins and caps will be available.
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