Former Mines Rovers star Sasha Kernutt could be just a few months away from starting his WAFL career.
The creative midfielder has been training with West Perth over summer and hopes to earn a spot on the Falcons list in 2020.
Kernutt, who won the Diorities’ fairest-and-best award last year, is not certain where he fits in the club’s plans, but said the feedback from coaches had been positive.
“At the moment everything’s going pretty well,” he said.
“I’m getting some good praise from the coaching staff.
“So far it’s just been running but now that we’re starting all the skill sessions, I’ll see how I go, compared to the other guys.”
The chance for Kernutt to press his case was orchestrated by Mines Rovers great and West Perth back-line coach Dion Fleay.
Under decorated former Diorites coach Fleay, Kernutt was exposed to one of the more demanding fitness programs in the Goldfields Football League.
However, he said the emphasis WAFL clubs placed on running and conditioning was markedly more pronounced. “The biggest difference probably relates to fitness, really,” Kernutt said.
“Just getting yourself game-ready and getting your body right to start the season on a high. There’s heaps more running. With the program we have, it’s pretty much a good couple of kilometres every few nights with running sessions and gym training as well.
“In terms of recovery, it’s about looking after ourselves on and off the track. We’re not far off our scratch-match game, so we’re pretty keen to get into it.”
Now in his mid-20s, Kernutt moved back to Perth at the end of last season to be with his partner and newborn baby boy.
He said the decision to leave Mines Rovers was challenging but necessary. “It was hard to walk away, but being without my family in Kalgoorlie, I needed to be with my boy, really,” he said.
“I was based in Kal and my partner really wanted to be around her family, with the newborn baby. I sort of agreed to see out the year with Mines, and that was it.
“I feel more comfortable being with (my family) and now that we’re back playing footy, it’s good.”
If selected by West Perth, Kernutt is expected to play as an inside midfielder and across half-forward. He has excellent ball-handling skills, exceptional vision and a knack for creating space.
Kernutt’s depature from Mines Rovers is offset by the arrival of former AFL player and two-time WAFL premiership captain Gerald Ugle.