• SportFM

Exclusive: Aaron Black in line to make shock AFL debut

West Perth captain Aaron Black could make one of the most remarkable AFL debuts in the game’s history after being asked to join West Coast training only five days before the season-opener against Gold Coast on Sunday.


The hard-running Black, 29, was one of five Sandover medallists named by the two local AFL clubs on Monday as Covid top-up players. That status means that any of the 40 players selected could be used if Covid restrictions mean West Coast or Fremantle have 28 or fewer players available for selection.

Black won the 2014 Sandover and has played 222 WAFL games without ever coming close to being picked up by an AFL club. But Black’s call-up to train with the Eagles signals the possibility that he could be used against the Suns at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

West Coast are down to about 25 fit players with senior midfielders Luke Shuey (hamstring), Tim Kelly (Covid), Elliott Yeo (calf) and Dom Sheed (ankle) unlikely to be available.


Coach Adam Simpson has already declared that draftee Brady Hough would make his debut on Sunday while pre-season draftees Patrick Naish and Hugh Dixon could make their first appearances for their new club.


Black has been one of the most significant identities in the State league in the past few years whose inspirational leadership at West Perth kept his players focused on football during one of the most traumatic episodes in the club’s history.


WA’s oldest football club nearly collapsed in 2018 as its debts rose to more than $800,000 while the financial chaos masked the back-room coup to oust premiership coach Bill Monaghan.


Yet for all the external distractions, Black kept his team on track so effectively that they reached the grand final that season, and have played finals in every season that he has been captain.


IMAGE: PerthNow