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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Ruthven

Young Eagles leading the charge for older players: Cripps

West Coast forward Jamie Cripps says the Eagles’ recent wins don’t all boil down to Harley Reid, but instead are influenced by a collective effort from the younger players. 


In Saturday night’s match, West Coast blindsided Fremantle to beat them by 37 points in the 58th Western Derby. 


The 19-year-old missed out on the Glendinning-Allan Medal by one vote after having an eye-catching performance - kicking three goals and taking some outstanding marks. 


However, Cripps dispelled suggestions the Eagles’ recent performances came entirely down to Reid, giving credit to his younger peers. 


“I probably wouldn't name it all down to Harley even though he's a very good player,” Cripps told SportFM


“The younger group coming through, they're a tight group and they bring the energy to training every week and on game day.


“Harley's having a really good year and he can keep doing that, but I'll put it down to the younger boys coming in and working hard and and enjoying themselves.


“It's always nice when you can get a few wins on the board. It's nice coming in on a Monday, the coach is a bit happier. Hopefully, we can just keep that going.”


Cripps also took time to praise fellow young forward Ryan Maric, who was pick one in the 2023 mid-season draft. 


Over the weekend, Maric kicked an electrifying goal and had six marks while being influential in the forward line.

“He's another very hard worker and he's very skilful as well. We love having the footy in his hands especially when he's kicking it into a 50,” said Cripps.


“He doesn't miss too many targets so same as him he just needs to be out in the deck and training hard and doing that for a long period. 


“He'd come in the middle of last year so he's still fairly new and fairly young as well.


“He's having another good year and so is Reuben (Ginbey) as well. The young boys are really lifting and us older boys are following them.” 


In addition to having a lively young group of players on their list, West Coast has also had the luxury of having a fitter list than the seasons gone by. 


Despite the likes of Oscar Allen, Matt Flynn, Elijah Hewett and Liam Ryan sidelined for the start of the season, West Coast has been able to play close to their best 22.


When asked about list availability, Cripps says it's been good to finally have some consistency.


“You see sides over the last couple of years when they lose a couple, they struggle, they leave holes in their team, but we've had that over the last couple of years,” he said.


“It's been good to finally get consistent with the boys being out on the deck. That connection piece game day is starting to come through. 


“Everybody knows their roles and is playing the roles that they should be playing, whereas I think in previous years everyone had to play different roles to fill spots because we had no numbers.” 


IMAGE: AFL Photos

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