Matt Priddis wants West Coast to inject running power into their on-ball division and declares young prospect Daniel Venables a “Luke Shuey clone” capable of stepping into the midfield next season.
The departures of Priddis and Sam Mitchell will force the Eagles to replenish their stocks after their 67-point semifinal demolition by Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium on Saturday night. The hard-running Giants engine room brutally exposed the Eagles’ lack of pace to set up a preliminary final showdown with Richmond at the MCG.
Venables, the Eagles’ top pick at last year’s national draft, endured an injury-interrupted first season and failed to make the senior side, but is a potential star if he has a full pre-season.
West Coast will be active in next month’s trade period.
They will also attack the national draft in November, with their first pick at 13.
“The best thing for this footy club is to get some new young guys with some leg speed into this midfield … that’s what it’s going to come down to,” Priddis said.
“I don’t think this club has ever really gone through the big rebuilds. We’ve always managed to find a way to be a really strong, developing footy club.”
Priddis tipped Andrew Gaff to lead the midfield and looked forward to the return of ruckman Nic Naitanui.
“Nic Nat is going to be a big help,” he said.
“It’s exciting for this footy club. There’s always turnover on your list and someone’s going to pop up and improve and take it on.
“Luke Shuey will keep improving and Gaffy will lead it with his work rate, but then you’re going to need the young guys to really step up and make it theirs.”
A foot injury marred Venables’ pre-season and he managed eight league and two reserves games with East Perth before a toe injury ended his year early.
“He’s pretty much a Luke Shuey clone,” Priddis said.
“He looks like him and he wants to be like him.
“He can win it on the inside, but he’s also got that awesome speed and skill, and he’s got confidence.
“I’m really excited to see him get out there and strut his stuff. I don’t think the big stage will frighten him.”
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