West Coast coach Adam Simpson keen to experiment with undersized Eagles at Narrandera

SPECIAL MOMENT: Wagga six-year-old Jake Taylor gets an autograph from West Coast footballer Tom Lamb at the club's open training session at Robertson Oval on Friday. Picture: Les Smith
SPECIAL MOMENT: Wagga six-year-old Jake Taylor gets an autograph from West Coast footballer Tom Lamb at the club's open training session at Robertson Oval on Friday. Picture: Les Smith

WEST Coast will blood a number of new players as coach Adam Simpson looks to experiment at Narrandera Sportsground on Saturday.

A number of West Coast’s best 22 players made the trip to Wagga on Thursday but the squad will be balanced by a number of first-timers.

One of those is father-son draft selection Jake Waterman, who Simpson revealed will spearhead the Eagles’ forward line in the absence of Coleman Medallist, Josh Kennedy, and Jack Darling.

“Young Waterman will start up forward,” Simpson said.

“I think he was last pick in the draft and he’s a father-son (selection).

“He’s a natural full-forward so we’ll put him straight there, straight in the deep end.”

Waterman, 18, is one of a number of new West Coast players that fans will be keen to see how they perform.

Another area of interest is the Eagles’ ruck division, with Nic Naitanui to be sidelined for most of 2017.

New recruit Nathan Vardy will get his chance to stake his claim for a round one position on Saturday, along with Fraser McInnes.

“Young Fraser McIness will back up Vards. We’re a big light on with our talls but that’s okay, we’ll have to take it on and try different avenues,” Simpson said.

“We’ve got a few ruck issues with Nic (Naitanui) and Scott (Lycett), and we didn’t bring Drew (Petrie) over as well, but that’s okay.

“We get an opportunity to play our kids. Mainly over pre-season you’re working on the fundamentals but you’re trying to tweak and explore where the game might go, so we’ll try a couple of things but you won’t get blown away by a whole new game plan. It’s more about refinement for us.”