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  • Writer's pictureJosh Kempton

McQueen ready for Royals challenge

New East Perth senior coach Ross McQueen is relishing the challenge of taking over the Royals.

McQueen has stepped up from his role as senior assistant into the main job following the departure of Jeremy Barnard last year, with the club having not made finals since the end of the West Coast alignment in 2018.

McQueen declined to put a specific goal on the board for the upcoming season, but said preseason training was progressing well.

“We feel pretty good, I think, at the moment. It’s been a little bit different, we’ve changed things a little bit over the preseason just with a new group of players coming in,” McQueen told Sports Breakfast.

“If you’re not optimistic at this time of year, then you’re in a world of pain, so we’re optimistic we’re tracking the right way, but you won’t really know until the games start.

“We’re going to have a couple of guys who aren’t going to be ready for the start of the year … for the most part, though, I think everyone will be pretty close to being available for the last practice game or round one, so in that regard, we’re pretty good.”

McQueen joined the club before the 2021 season after building an impressive resume with Claremont’s colts and reserves sides and coached two league games in an interim capacity last year after Barnard’s departure.

McQueen said familiarity was helping him settle into the job.

“[I’ve] managed to make some of those connections over the last couple of years, so that will help. Maybe they might be sick and tired of me already after two years so it might go against me,” he joked.

“I was very fortunate the last couple of years to work with Jeremy, his footy is very, very strong and obviously we know that.

“I think it has helped to have a bit of an understanding of what makes different players tick … I think those relationships have started to develop and form stronger bonds.”

Delisted Fremantle midfielder Mitch Crowden has headlined the Royals’ recruitment over the offseason, with the club announcing two weeks ago that former Docker Tom North had joined the club from Carlton’s VFL side.

McQueen said the 24 year old was one of several good inclusions.

“I know Tom’s really good mates with Mitch Crowden and Scott Jones, so I think it’s just mainly that ability to play with some mates, the attraction of coming back to WA and playing footy in WA where it’s a bit warmer and more consistent,” McQueen said.

“It’s a great addition to our squad, looking forward to seeing how Tom goes.

“We’re fortunate we’ve recruited a young man from Victoria, Harrison Macreadie, who was on Carlton’s list for a couple of years. He is a ripping bloke and from what I’m seeing on the footy field is going to be a real addition.”

The WAFL season kicks off on Easter Weekend, with the Royals stating their campaign with a Good Friday clash against Swan Districts at Leederville Oval.



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