Clubs cir­cle Sharks’ batch of promis­ing young­sters

Canning Gazette - - SPORT -

THE East Fre­man­tle Foot­ball Club is cel­e­brat­ing a po­ten­tially his­toric crop of young tal­ent af­ter a quin­tet of play­ers were picked up at last week’s AFL Draft.

Fol­low­ing a lean spell in which just three Sharks were taken in the pre­vi­ous five drafts, the club that pro­duced Pa­trick Cripps, Josh Kennedy, Elliot Yeo and Brad Shep­pard watched as five play­ers were se­lected last week.

Head­lined by ruck­man Luke Jackson, the Can­ning Vale teen who was taken by Mel­bourne with the third over­all pick, four East Fre­man­tle prod­ucts went in­side the first 40 picks, a feat bet­tered only by renowned Vic­to­rian out­fit San­dring­ham Drag­ons (five in­side the top 40).

Jeremy Sharp (pick 27, Gold Coast), Trent Rivers (pick 32, Mel­bourne), Chad Warner (pick 39, Syd­ney) and Trey Rus­coe (pick 55, Colling­wood) joined Jackson in earn­ing AFL con­tracts, which made East Fre­man­tle the top WAFL club at this year’s draft.

The club’s zone in­cludes River­ton, Wil­let­ton

and Can­ning Vale.

East Fre­man­tle colts coach Ja­cob Brennan said the group was burst­ing with con­fi­dence and blessed with a high work ethic that would hold them in good stead in the AFL.

“Luke is a player who, when thrown a chal­lenge, will thrive in it,” he said. “What­ever Mel­bourne sees in store for him, he’s go­ing to be some­one who go­ing to re­ally go af­ter it, whether that’s in the ruck, for­ward line or mid­field.

“Trent can have an im­pact across the half­back line ini­tially early in his ca­reer and as time goes on he’ll be able to im­pact the game as a mid­fielder.

“Jeremy, through his time play­ing league footy, has shown he can al­ready play against men and he can prob­a­bly play se­nior footy pretty quickly.

“Chad’s go­ing to be some­one who can learn off some qual­ity in­side mid­field­ers at Syd­ney. He’s one of the hard­est work­ers I’ve ever dealt with from a ju­nior per­spec­tive.

“Trey is a re­ally dynamic player; he can play a lot of dif­fer­ent po­si­tions and he’s got the abil­ity for­ward.”

Brennan was at Sharp’s house when the Suns picked him and has ex­changed con­grat­u­la­tory texts with the rest of the drafted Sharks since the night, with an eye to keep in touch over the next few weeks to en­sure they were com­fort­able in their new sur­round­ings.

The for­mer West Coast de­fender, an East Fre­man­tle prod­uct him­self, said the draft was an af­fir­ma­tion the club’s devel­op­ment pro­gram was on the right track.

“The whole pro­gram is built around giv­ing guys some ed­u­ca­tion about fur­ther­ing their footy and lucky enough, I had some ex­pe­ri­ences at AFL level I could share with these guys,” he said.

“But there’s noth­ing spe­cific about it; you’ve got to go about mak­ing sure they’re en­joy­ing their time and that’s how they get the best out of them­selves.

“We’re there to make sure East Fre­man­tle be­comes a pow­er­house again, so we’re try­ing to up-skill the play­ers to play league footy and be­yond if pos­si­ble.” as a

East Fre­man­tle ju­nior Luke Jackson with for­mer Mel­bourne star Brad Green af­ter he was picked up in the AFL Na­tional Draft.

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