Since joining the West Coast Eagles in the early part of March, wingman Patrick Naish has taken his second chance at the AFL by the throat.
Originally being signed as a train-on player following his delisting by Richmond, Naish impressed coaches in the practice match against the Dockers and was rewarded with a spot on West Coast’s list via the supplementary selection period.
Naish has been part of a rare group of Eagles, having played every game of the 2022 season so far as the club continues to navigate through the COVID protocols. He has proven to be one of the shining lights on what has been a poor start to the season for West Coast, Naish had the best outing of his short career last week against Sydney.
The 23-year-old collected 26 disposals, five marks and 482 metres gained in the Eagles’ loss to the Swans, proving to be one of his sides’ best performers of the match and giving West Coast fans a glimpse into the future.
Naish’s performance was a pleasing sign for the Eagles coaching group, as he continues to show why he deserves to keep his spot on the wing. Selection has been a problem for the Eagles all season long, but Naish’s form may bring some welcome headaches for the Eagles’ match committee.
Speaking to the media, West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson said how pleasing it is to have Naish in the side.
“He’s been great for us, he’s got a lot of upside, a massive tank, good skills, and a great footy brain,” Simpson said.
“Once we get through this period, we’ll have built a lot of resilience, and we get some players who’ve really stepped up. If we can get two or three players like Naishy, we’ll come back a better side for sure.”
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Simpson also mentioned how quickly the Eagles moved to get the former Tiger to the football club and how much of a critical asset he would be.
“We identified him as an option for us, but we couldn’t get him over until the borders opened up. We wanted him to train with us for a while, and when he came through, we were pretty lucky in the end.”
West Coast is set to take on Port Adelaide on Saturday afternoon at the Adelaide Oval from 4:35 pm AEST.
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