AFL: Josh Kennedy: good first up win for West Coast but players disappointed for injured Drew Petrie

Drew Petrie of the Eagles looks on with an injured hand during the Round 1 match between North Melbourne and West Coast at Etihad Stadium. Picture: Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images
Drew Petrie of the Eagles looks on with an injured hand during the Round 1 match between North Melbourne and West Coast at Etihad Stadium. Picture: Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images

THERE are always a few nerves going into round 1, even when you know you’ve had a good pre-season.

We knew our preparation through the pre-season had been solid, but you never really know how that sits compared to the opposition. So pre-game there were a few butterflies ahead of the clash with North Melbourne.

The other thing about playing North is that you always know it’s going to be a tough day. They are well-drilled, generally excel in the contested possession count and make you work for anything you get.

Fortunately, after a tight first half we were able to skip away to a bit of a break and eventually won by seven goals, which didn’t really show the true extent of how tight it was out there.

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For a little while it looked like we were in a bit of trouble in the ruck because Drew Petrie hurt his hand in the first few minutes.

But he’s a tough competitor and battled through with a fractured hand.

His ability to push through the pain and play his role despite the injury was a major factor in the win.

While he was being assessed, Jack Darling had to pinch hit in the ruck and I don’t reckon he’s played there since junior footy.

So Drew being able to play out the entire game and share the ruck with Nathan Vardy was very important for us.

As you would expect in the AFL, it doesn’t get any easier this week against St Kilda, but we are looking forward to our first home game of the season.

It will be great to have Sam Mitchell and Nathan Vardy play their first home games for the club and to experience the unique atmosphere of playing at Domain Stadium.

Unfortunately for Drew that won’t happen this week, but hopefully he doesn’t have to wait too long.

The recovery time for fractures in the hand can be inconsistent, but let’s hope we don’t have wait too long before he’s back in the team.

While it is incredibly disappointing for Drew, in his first game for the club, it will also create an opportunity for someone else and players like Fraser McInnes and big Jonathan Giles will put their hand up to play.