Woosha dangles carrot for young guns - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Woosha dangles carrot for young guns

Justin Chadwick 04/03/2011 08:06:06 PM Comments (0)

West Coast coach John Worsfold has given his young charges extra motivation for Saturday night's preseason cup semi-final against Collingwood, declaring up to seven spots are still up for grabs for the Eagles' season-opener against North Melbourne.

The Eagles named a strong squad to take on Collingwood, with only Daniel Kerr, Sam Butler and Eric Mackenzie unavailable as they recover from injury and forwards Ashton Hams and Callum Wilson given the week off.

Worsfold will use the next two games to assess his options for the season proper, but players such as Andrew Strijk, Koby Stevens, Tom Swift, Bradd Dalziell, Ashley Smith, Andrew Gaff, Brad Sheppard and Will Schofield can get the inside running for a round one berth by performing strongly against Collingwood.

"I think one of the key things is that there's still a challenge for six or seven spots in this team," Worsfold said.

"We've got a lot of our core and nearly all of our senior players in the side but some of the younger players are still playing to show that they deserve to be in the best side for the start of the season."

Although Worsfold's focus is squarely set on getting his troops ready for round one, he said it was good experience for the club to reach the pre-season semi-final after last year's horror wooden spoon campaign.

"A NAB Cup semi-final in front of your home crowd is great and playing against the reigning premiers is a real good test for us," he said.

"It's going to be a high-pressure game against the reigning premiers and the favourites for this year's flag, so a real good opportunity for our boys to see where they're at and how much work they've done."

Worsfold said Kerr was a chance to play next week in what would be his first competitive hit-out since tearing his hamstring in round four last year.

"Right at this moment, depending on how he goes through next week, we'll make the call on whether we want him to play 30 minutes of footy at some level, or whether we wait another week so he comes and plays 50 or 60 minutes straight up," he said.

Collingwood recalled No.1 ruckman Darren Jolly for an enticing match-up against Eagles duo Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui, but Alan Didak, Tyson Goldsack and Brad Dick have been given another week to build up their fitness.

The 'Pies also left out Chris Tarrant, Luke Ball, Leigh Brown, Brent Macaffer and Heath Shaw, while the Eagles recalled veterans Andrew Embley, Darren Glass and Beau Waters.

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