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Eagle McGovern keen to help out in the ruck

Alex Malcolm  January 8, 2016 9:30 PM

2015 Toyota AFL Grand Final - Hawthorn v West Coast

Jeremy McGovern is keen to help the Eagles out in the ruck for season 2016

I would love to play in the ruck, that's my favourite position on the ground

WEST Coast swingman Jeremy McGovern may still be needed in defence at the start of the new season despite putting his hand up to play in the ruck.

McGovern made the All Australian 40-man squad last season after a stellar year as a defender. 

His intercept marking and rebound kicking were a feature of his play and his ability to read the play made him a key asset in the Eagles' highly-publicised "web" defence. 

McGovern was forced to play in defence last season after the Eagles lost 2014 best and fairest Eric Mackenzie and experienced key defender Mitch Brown to season-ending knee injuries in February and April respectively.

Both men are back in full training and appear on track to be available for the NAB Challenge.

Their return would give McGovern the flexibility to be released forward, however coach Adam Simpson said on Wednesday that the Eagles needed to be thoughtful in their planning. 

"We've got to think about that," Simpson said. 

"I'm not quite sure how that's going to look. With guys coming back from knees, you've got to be pretty patient. 

"We'll start 'Gov' down back with our training, but we've got to see what he can do up forward and in the ruck as well. He'll be pretty flexible for us, I would have thought."

Eagles defender Will Schofield is also being managed through the pre-season after ankle surgery, although he did complete a large portion the Eagles' 90-minute session on Wednesday and is set to be training without restrictions next week.   

The Eagles must also recalibrate their ruck combination after trading Callum Sinclair to the Sydney Swans in exchange for Lewis Jetta.

Scott Lycett is the logical choice to partner Nic Naitanui, however McGovern believes he can play a role in the ruck.

McGovern played in the ruck for Claremont in the WAFL in 2012. He was the second ruckman in the Claremont's premiership and had two career-high 24 hit-out games that season. He only stands at 195cm, and partnered Lycett for West Coast in round 19 against Hawthorn last season when both Naitanui and Sinclair were missing.

"I would love to play in the ruck, that's my favourite position on the ground," McGovern told the Eagles' website.

"It was great to spend a bit of time in there last season.

"It was great experience, and when you have Nic and Dean Cox to learn from, it's a great position to be in.

"I do like the idea of helping the team out however I can, so if it's swinging from back to forward, then I'd love to do it."