WEST Coast has ramped up its focus on aggressive tackling and risky ball movement this pre-season, showcasing both in an early summer match simulation session on Monday.
The Eagles had umpires on board for an intense session at their Mineral Resources Park base, with the whistleblowers overlooking full-blooded tackling drills before the team completed roughly a quarter of match practice.
The players transferred their focus on effective tackling into the match simulation, repeatedly bringing teammates to ground forcefully and tackling in numbers.
Coach Adam Simpson admitted last season that tackling effectiveness had been a weakness for the Eagles. They also ranked last in average tackles per game (46.6), owing partly to their game style.
The club's leading tackler by averages for the past four seasons, Elliot Yeo, was also restricted to 12 games because of his lengthy battle with osteitis pubis.
Aggressive kicking through the corridor was another feature on Monday, both in the Eagles' full-ground ball-movement drills and the match simulation.
Players focused on moving the ball quickly and with an attacking mindset, rather than taking safer options and racking up marks.
There were also several long kicks inside 50, rather than the patient kick-mark build-up that has become a feature of their play but was less effective in 2021.
Train-on players Kade Dittmar and Luke Strnadica both featured on Monday ahead of the Supplemental Selection Period, with the latter impressing with a strong overhead mark.
Senior stars Josh Kennedy and Luke Shuey completed a separate running session around the boundary during the match simulation, as did returning premiership forward Willie Rioli.
Other Eagles who had light sessions were Jeremy McGovern (hip) and Jack Redden (shoulder), while star forward Liam Ryan took it easy as he is managed.
Key defender Tom Barrass and young midfielders Zane Trew, Xavier O'Neill and Luke Edwards were also on light duties.
Among the Eagles to return to training in top condition and impress early are Jamie Cripps, Josh Rotham, Tim Kelly, Jamaine Jones and Tom Cole.
Gun young forward Oscar Allen has also looked strong in contests, while 2021 mid-season recruit Connor West has covered the ground exceptionally.
Trade acquisition Sam Petrevski-Seton hit several teammates with classy kicks during the match practice, playing in a midfield-forward role.