It was a relaxed Jack Darling this week ahead of flying out to Melbourne this afternoon with his West Coast teammates. The champion forward is one of several West Perth products in the Eagles camp for Saturday’s grand final against Collingwood. He was always a prodigious talent, according to his former coach.
THEY make up a third of the West Coast Eagles forward line.
And fans of the AFL juggernaut are hoping West Perth products Mark LeCras and Jack Darling can fire at the MCG this Saturday.
They will be joined on the day by other former Falcons in midfield tagger Mark Hutchings, assistant coach Nathan van Berlo and possible emergency Oscar Allen.
West Perth coach Bill Monaghan said he wished them all well.
“They’ve played a really big part in getting West Coast to a grand final,” he said.
“And it’s going to be a ripper game against probably a surprise grand finalist in Collingwood.
“Hopefully they can lift the holy grail… and think that West Perth played some part in getting them to where they are.”
Monaghan said he had coached Darling as a 17-year-old before the Eagles drafted him.
“He’s always been a prodigious talent,” he said.
“I think whilst he’s been a very good footballer in the AFL system, this year he’s taken his game to a new level.
“Those people who know Jack, it’s not surprising. He was full of confidence and belief in himself and he’s turned into a fantastic AFL footballer.”
Monaghan said Hutchings helped the Falcons win the 2013 premiership after he had been delisted by St Kilda.
“He came to us from St Kilda looking for midfield opportunities.
“He played a really big part in our 2013 premiership and that probably helped him secure a spot on an AFL list. That’s a really good story.
“He’s a ripping young fellow and deserves everything he’s got.”
Monaghan coached LeCras’ brother Brent but said he had not had the pleasure of coaching Mark.
“The LeCras family, through Brent and Mark, have great success around the West Perth Football Club,” he said.
Monaghan said he had got to know former Adelaide captain van Berlo.
“We went to a coaching conference in Adelaide a few years back and he got us into a couple of Crows sessions to look at,” he said.
Siren sounds... Mark Hutchings reflects on making the grand final after the Eagles rolled Melbourne last Saturday at Optus Stadium.