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  • Writer's pictureSportFM

"Magnificent" Waterman can drive Eagles forward

Peter Sumich has heaped praise on West Coast forward Jake Waterman, who put in a career-best performance in the Eagles’ 19 point win over GWS yesterday.

The 24 year old booted a game-high four goals from 16 disposals in the 14.16 (100) to 11.15 (81) victory, also holding his own as a relief ruckman.

Sumich told Sports Breakfast Waterman’s game was “magnificent”.

“Deserved his opportunity. I’m still bewildered, I know I’m on my high horse a little bit, but why he didn’t play last week. If he plays, I think they win,” Sumich said.

“What he did do, he was leading at the footy. West Coast’s midfield got on top and they had some free-flowing football for once and it really helped the forwards.

“[Waterman] is the future. He comes out of contract at the end of the year, it’s a tricky one because at the end of the day, there will be a lot of suitors who want Jake. I think he’s a valuable player to West Coast but I think he could be a valuable player for a lot of other clubs too.”

The win was a display of the club’s youth, with second-gamers Reuben Ginbey, Campbell Chesser, and Noah Long all featuring alongside Elijah Hewett, who made his AFL debut as the substitute.

Sumich said the younger brigade was “terrific”.

“They’re all going to get better with more games. You’ve got to play probably 30-plus games to really find your feet,” he said.

“Those kids, once they get to that, they’ll be very good for the club.

“Ginbey, it was good for him to run with Tom Green a little bit. Tom Green’s a younger player too but he’s becoming an elite mid, for him to get some game time on him … that’s a great plan by West Coast to teach him.”

Across town, Fremantle suffered a shock loss to last year’s wooden spooners North Melbourne on Saturday night, with Sumich saying the Dockers looked a long way from their best.

“The midfield’s not getting it done at the moment. I don’t know if it’s the mix, I don’t know if they’re getting pushed around and just not really having any energy in there,” he said.

“They’ve got to find something, especially this week. It’s an important game for both teams but you would think it’s even more important for Fremantle. A 0-3 start really puts them out of contention for top four, and probably even out of contention for top six.”

“It’s not a great look at the moment, where they’re all going.”

The two WA teams meet in the Western Derby at 3:20 this Sunday at Optus Stadium.



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