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Royals buoyant about crowds at WAFL

East Perth CEO Dean Turner says he is growing more optimistic by the day of fans being allowed to attend games this season.


Players have returned to full contact training, after the State Government eased COVID-19 restrictions on community sport.

Speaking on #SportsLine Turner believed that everyone has turned a corner now that a start date was in sight.


“I’m looking out across Leederville Oval, and the way things are progressing, let’s hope we can get people along here as well.” Turner said.


A reconfigured WAFL Season, where clubs will play each other once, followed by a finals series, is set to begin on Saturday, August 1. Turner is confident that the Royals’ faithful will be in full voice at Leederville Oval in the not too distant future.


“I know August 1 is when we’re kicking off but things seem to be improving each week.


“Fingers crossed we can bring all of our members and all of our supporters back to Leederville.”


Turner said the appointment of Patrick McGinnity as sole captain of East Perth for the 2020 season was a ‘no-brainer.'


“Patrick’s a wonderful leader around the club. He leads by example – you couldn’t ask for a more committed player. He puts his body on the line every week. It was a no-brainer.”


McGinnity will be supported by Jackson Ramsay who was elevated to a leadership role (as vice-captain) for the first time.


“Jackson was our fairest and best winner last year and he was one of the players that really stood up for us when we were against the odds.


Turner said the initial uncertainty around the season had prompted the retirements of former captain Kyle Anderson and Sharrod Wellingham. Anderson retired from the WAFL last month, citing persistent injuries as a major factor in his decision.


"Kyle was fantastic for the team.


"He really stepped up and was important for the progress that we made, particularly last year. People said we wouldn’t win a game, and we won five.


"That was all around Kyle keeping the young blokes focused and keeping them improving. He was driving that leadership for us."


Wellingham played 39 league games for East Perth, debuting as a West Coast Eagles listed player during the alignment in 2013.


“Sharrod’s got busy with work and there are other things in his life,”


“The thought of coming back and doing all the work again, I think, he probably felt it was time to call it a day.


“We’re very sad to lose both of them, because they’re both really good players and great for the WAFL.”


IMAGE: FILE

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