Campbell Chesser warms up before West Coast's practice match against Fremantle on February 25, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

WEST Coast will field three debutants in its season-opener against North Melbourne on Saturday, with prized youngster Campbell Chesser finally ready to show his talent at the top level. 

Star ruckman Nic Naitanui will not be available, however, with the Eagles officially ruling the 32-year-old old for the round one clash as he continues to manage Achilles soreness. 

Chesser will be joined by first-year players Reuben Ginbey and Noah Long when the Eagles take on the Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium after both completed excellent pre-seasons. 

Former Melbourne defender Jayden Hunt will also play his first game for the club after crossing as a free agent at the end of last year to add speed to the Eagles' backline. 

The excitement of the Eagles' new breed will be tempered by Naitanui's absence and doubt around the fitness of ruckman Bailey Williams, who is managing a minor hamstring issue ahead of round one. 


Football manager Gavin Bell said Naitanui was making encouraging progress after the dual club champion was put through a testing session with strength and conditioning staff on Monday.

"When Nic does return we want him to play with the same unique explosiveness and power around the contest that we’ve all come to know and admire about his game," Bell said. 

Nic Naitanui during a West Coast training session on February 8, 2023. Picture: West Coast FC

"While he continues his positive progression, Nic won't be available to play North Melbourne in round one at Marvel Stadium this Saturday."

Long has been the surprise packet of the Eagles' new crop after being secured with pick No.58 in the 2022 AFL Draft. 

The goalsneak has shown great poise and skill during match simulation training and will slot into the small forward role the Eagles have been trialling several players in this summer after the departure of premiership star Junior Rioli. 

Ginbey arrived as a talented junior but has also exceeded expectations, shining as a midfielder both in training and during a standout performance against Adelaide in the clubs' pre-season hitout. 

Reuben Ginbey in action during West Coast's practice match against Adelaide on March 3, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Chesser's selection ends a long road back from a serious ankle injury early last year that ruled him out for the entire 2022 season. 

The skilful 19-year-old has been carefully managed right up to earning his debut, playing limited minutes on the wing during the Eagles' match simulation and pre-season hitouts.