Former Hawthorn midfield star Sam Mitchell says he’s been surprised at the number of talented youngsters in the West Coast side.
The Brownlow medallist said that he was initially impressed by a lot of aspects of the Eagles outfit after arriving in WA three months ago.
But it was the upside of some of the young brigade that has him most excited.
“There are lots of things that are different to what I thought,” he said.
“Some of the talent of some of the younger guys is a bit more exciting than I probably thought.
“A guy like Dom Sheed is 21 years old and is already built like a man. There is so much upside.
“Jack Redden and playing with a guy like Lewis Jetta; these are exciting players that I haven’t seen much of on the AFL footy field – there is a lot of upside.”
Mitchell debuted with the Eagles in a JLT Community Series clash against Fremantle at Geraldton on Saturday and picked up a game-high 28 possessions.
ALthough he is about to enter his 16th season at the top level, Mitchell said it was a lot of fun playing with a whole new group.
“It was good fun; a good way to start,” he said.
“I got a couple of early touches and we kicked a couple of early goals. It took the pressure off and then just went and played after that.
“Some of the time it felt like we had great chemistry; sometimes it felt like we were on complete different pages – plenty of missed handballs. I was going left and they were handballing right.
“So there were some strange things – but it’s something to build from.”
The Eagles only have one official chance to build on that before round one, with a home clash against Melbourne on March 9.
And for that, Simpson said he would need to go in as close to full strength as they could. Due to that fixturing, the Eagles will also need to schedule some intraclub hit-outs.
“We’ve probably copped the rough end of stick with the pre-season scheduling – one game in 29 days and a couple of travel games in there as well,” Simpson said.