West Coast will unveil debutants Tom Lamb and Jackson Nelson in Saturday night’s clash with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, but Liam Duggan narrowly missed out on an AFL berth.
Lamb, selected with pick No.32 in last year’s national draft, will fill the void left by injured forward Jack Darling.
Nelson, who was chosen with pick No.51 last year, will help out in defence following the season-ending knee injury to Eric Mackenzie.
Duggan, the club’s first-choice draft pick last year, is close to making his AFL debut after tallying 22 possessions and two goals in the WAFL last weekend.
But coach Adam Simpson decided against throwing the 18-year-old into the heat of battle this weekend.
“He fatigued a little bit late in the game,” Simpson said.
“He’s probably a few weeks away, but we’re excited about what he can bring as well.”
Simpson is confident both Lamb and Nelson will be able to deal with the pressure of the club’s season-opener.
“Lamby’s exciting. He’s going to be a very good player. He’s showed some signs at the moment he can match it at AFL standard,” Simpson said.
“You still don’t quite know what you’re going to get, which is exciting in itself.
“Jackson is a reliable, tough defender that can use the ball well, with a real defence-first attitude.
“We need that in our side. He’ll play down back, and Lamby will play up forward.”
Midfielder Xavier Ellis has been ruled out after suffering a pre-season hamstring injury, but the former Hawk is set to return in the coming weeks.
Simpson said Darling (foot) would resume full training within the next fortnight barring another injury setback.