Former Collingwood defender Josh Smith is looming as a surprise midfield addition at West Coast after impressing everyone at the club in the pre-season.
Smith joined the premiers as the 34th selection in the rookie draft after falling out of favour at the Magpies.
The 25-year-old played only one game for Collingwood last season to take his career tally to 32.
But he has had an impact since arriving in Perth.
The half-back broke Chris Masten’s 2km time trial record and has trained with the midfielders.
Masten said Smith had done everything right from the moment he arrived.
“He’s a ripper. He got me in the 2km time trial which hurt me for about 10 minutes, but I got over that and now we’re good friends,” Masten joked.
“He might be playing a similar role to me so we’ve spent a bit of time together. I think he can play anywhere. The tank that he’s got … he’s pretty smart and he’s got good skills.
“Any role that he’s given, I’m sure he’ll attack and do pretty good.
“I’m trying to help him to learn my role and if he needs to learn other ones, the other boys will do the same thing.”
The AFL has introduced rule changes designed to give players more space.
The ground has effectively been sliced into three, with teams forced to have six players in each third at centre bounces.
It should give midfielders the chance to use their skills in less congestion.
Masten said it would take until mid-season for teams to adjust, but felt the extra space would benefit hard-running on-ballers.
“There’s a lot of space that’s going to be around, with the way the centre bounces are going to be,” he said.
“There’s a lot of big gaps to make up. Hopefully that works for the running players.
“I’ve noticed the ball moving a lot quicker from the centre bounce and a lot more scores are going to happen from that phase of the game.”
The Eagles also boast All-Australian wingman Andrew Gaff, an elite running player. He will miss the first two weeks through suspension.
Few players can match Gaff’s aerobic capacity, and Masten said the Victorian had put his tumultuous 2018 behind him.
“He’s pretty resilient and he just gets on with the job,” he said.
“He’s working really hard out there and he does what Gaffy does. He gets heaps of the ball and uses it so well. I’m looking forward to having him back.
“Game-day running, no one does it as good as him.
“I’m sure he’s going to have a really good year.”