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McGovern won't walk into ruck role, says Simpson

Alex Malcolm  February 8, 2016 6:22 PM

AFL 2016 Portraits - West Coast Eagles

Jeremy McGovern has made a pitch to be West Coast's no.2 ruckman

The one thing I do know, he'd be a different type of ruckman than most

WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson says he will decide where Jeremy McGovern plays, despite the Eagles youngster wanting an opportunity to move into the ruck and on-ball this season.

McGovern had an outstanding 2015 playing as a key defender in the absence of injured duo Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown.

The 23-year-old was selected in the All Australian 40-man squad in 2015 on the back of his intercept marking and rebound from defence.

But with Mackenzie and Brown ready to return from knee injuries there is an opportunity for McGovern to play a different role. The Eagles' second ruck spot is up for grabs after Callum Sinclair was traded to the Sydney Swans during the off-season for Lewis Jetta.

McGovern, who is only 195cm, has stated publicly that he would love to play in the ruck at AFL level, after playing most of his junior football and some of his football in the WAFL as a ruckman.

But Simpson said he would ultimately make the decision on how McGovern would be used.

"I'll tell him where he's needs to play," Simpson said at the Eagles' community camp in Kalgoorlie on Monday. 

"He wants to play on-ball as well. 

"It's great that he says that but we'll see how we go. The one thing I do know, he'd be a different type of ruckman than most." 

Simpson said the Eagles would use the pre-season competition to test their ruck options.

Scott Lycett would appear the likely candidate to replace Sinclair as Nic Naitanui's partner but new recruit Jonathan Giles, youngster Fraser McInnes and McGovern are also potential options.

The Eagles' first NAB Challenge game is just 13 days away. They are set to have a healthy squad to choose from.

Jack Redden (adductor) and Dom Sheed (knee) won't be available for the first match of the pre-season but Simpson said both were a chance to be available for the third NAB Challenge match on March 13. 

"They're progressing really well, probably ahead of schedule," Simpson said.

"They're training in full this week and should be available for NAB Challenge at some stage, probably game three."

The Eagles' first clash is against the Adelaide Crows in Adelaide at Unley Oval before games at home against Gold Coast and Essendon.

Simpson said it was likely he would rest some of his senior players from the Adelaide trip but expected most of his squad would play at least two matches of the NAB Challenge.

"You'd think two games holds you in good stead for round one," Simpson said.

"So we'll probably manage our senior players to play games two and three and give our kids a bit of an opportunity in game one."

Some of the youngsters may include new draftees Luke Partington, Tom Cole, Matthew Allen and Jordan Snadden. Kurt Mutimer is unavailable following hamstring surgery last week.

Simpson said he had been very impressed by the draftees this pre-season. Partington has already signed a one-year contract extension while the others have hardly missed a training session all summer.   

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