Main content

New Eagle would relish chance to man speedy Pie

Oscar Allen celebrates his maiden win - AFL,West Coast Eagles,Oscar Allen,Jaidyn Stephenson
Oscar Allen celebrates his maiden win

OSCAR Allen might be squeezed out of West Coast's backline but the emerging youngster would be ready for the challenge if he stands runaway Rising Star favourite Jaidyn Stephenson in Sunday's blockbuster clash with Collingwood. 

Allen acquitted himself well on debut in a thrilling victory over Greater Western Sydney, which has given the Eagles some breathing space in the top-four race.

But with full-back Tom Barrass (back) expected to return against the Pies, the 19-year-old understands his spot is not guaranteed.

If Allen does hold his position, he could spend time on Stephenson - who has kicked 24 goals in a scintillating debut season - at the MCG, where the pair played, albeit at opposite ends of the ground, in the NAB AFL All Stars game before last year's Grand Final.

"I think he had 30 (disposals) and kicked three (goals) to three-quarter time and then he was done for the day," Allen said.

"Even back then, we could tell he was a really quality footballer and he's a really quality bloke as well.

"When you're out there, you don't really think about who you're playing on as a person, you're just out there to try to get the job done and enjoy the experience.

"Collingwood at the MCG is one of the game that is bookmarked for most people.

"They've got a great fanbase behind them, as do we, so if I'm fortunate enough to be given the opportunity, I'll be absolutely thrilled."

The intrigue surrounding West Coast player availability grew on Monday with twin towers Josh Kennedy (fractured leg) and Jack Darling (ankle), plus small forwards Mark LeCras (wrist) and Liam Ryan (welfare), taking part in a light session at Subiaco Oval.

Speaking after the Giants win, coach Adam Simpson hinted the Eagles would need to stagger their injured players' comebacks.

Ryan's availability is clouded after he sat out of the Giants win following an early-morning incident when he crashed his car into a tree.


But Simpson should have more goalkicking options at his disposal against the Pies after being forced to use star defender Jeremy McGovern in attack, and calling up big man Nathan Vardy to play alongside established ruck duo Scott Lycett and Nic Naitanui.

 

Allen, who became the third-placed Eagles' eighth debutant against GWS, believed flexibility to play a variety of roles was important as he aims to establish himself.


The West Perth product won the Larke Medal as WA's focal point in attack during last year's under-18s championships but, for now, has been sent to defence by the Eagles.

"I've really enjoyed playing down back. You look at most people who have played key forward or key back in the AFL, at a young age they often do both," Allen said.

"It's really good to get an understanding of the whole team game plan. I think that's really helped me develop as a footballer, and we've got some terrific leaders down back.

"I'm happy wherever the coach puts me. I think I can play forward in the future and I'm sure that switch will get pulled at some stage throughout my career."