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New Eagles draftee happy to get physical

Brayden Ainsworth in action for WA in the U18 national championships - AFL,Draft,West Coast Eagles,Brayden Ainsworth,Sam Mitchell
Brayden Ainsworth in action for WA in the U18 national championships

WEST Coast draftee Brayden Ainsworth hopes the experience of playing against big-bodied opponents at country and WAFL reserves level will hold him in good stead in his first season with the Eagles.

Ainsworth was snared with pick No.32 in the NAB AFL Draft last Friday, quickly making the seven-hour drive from home town Esperance, on the south coast of WA, to Perth.

The 19-year-old made his debut for Ports football club in Esperance when he was 16 and won a premiership with Subiaco's reserves team in 2017, giving him more senior experience than most recruits when he arrived at West Coast headquarters on the weekend. 

"There's only four teams down there, so you're [playing] the same teams four times a year, and you're [opposing] your mates and playing with your mates," Ainsworth said of his country experience.

"Then when you play league footy it's bigger bodies. It definitely helps a lot because you're [playing against] bigger bodies at a younger age, so I guess you're used to the physical side."

Ainsworth, who described being drafted as one of the best moments of his life, spoke with West Coast captain Shannon Hurn on his long drive to Perth, which he said helped the experience sink in.

Subiaco coach Jarryd Schofield made "one of the best sales pitches I've ever heard" to get him to the WAFL club, and has since been a massive help.

Now the ball-winner, who averaged 6.5 clearances for WA through the National Championships, is targeting Hawthorn champion Sam Mitchell as a mentor.  

"Sam Mitchell is one of the midfield coaches and one of the best of all time, so I'll get as much information off him as I can," Ainsworth said.  

"And then the likes of (Dom) Sheed and (Luke) Shuey, Nic (Naitanui) as well rucking."