SO much new ground will be broken when the WAFL season gets underway at Lathlain this Saturday, with Perth Demons again offering supporters hope for a stronger 2019.
The Demons, fresh from unveiling their 2019 guernsey ahead of their milestone 120th season, will face off in the season opener against the league’s most unknown prospect, AFL club West Coast’s reserves team.
That game will be played on the familiar turf of Lathlain Oval but one that has a new name, Mineral Resources Park, and it will be a feature television broadcast match played at the early timeslot of 12.40pm.
It will be West Coast’s first game for WAFL premiership points and I will be Corey Yeo’s first as Demons captain.
Despite sharing a training base with the Eagles, Yeo and the Demons hierarchy have very little insight into the make-up of their opposition.
“It’s certainly a bit of an unknown,” Yeo said.
“They’ve got Brady Grey as their marquee player and I think they will have a lot of talls, which can work for you or against you, so it will be an interesting match-up.
“I do expect they will be at their strongest earlier in the season while everyone’s available, so we may have drawn a short straw in getting them first up.
“It will be a good test for us.”
The 27-year-old brother of West Coast star Elliot has a lot more confidence about the makeup of his own relatively young team.
Having taken over as skipper during the summer from the ageless Clint Jones, who will continue to be a prime midfield mover, Yeo nominated a host of emerging players to keep an eye on.
He said Cody Leggett, Michael Bennell, Samuel Garstone and recruit Chris Bryan had performed well over summer as the squad placed a big emphasis on building endurance.
“They are all at that age where they are coming into their own and have played enough senior footy and done most of the pre-season work as well,” he said.
Yeo expects a more even season in 2019, the first with a 10-team competition that includes unknowns such as East Perth playing without an AFL alignment partner, which Fremantle players will bolster Peel Thunder and the new Eagles team.
He touted East Fremantle to be better, Claremont as his pick to make a move and reigning premiers Subiaco sure to be strong again but not as dominant as they were a season ago.
“We will be around the mark and there could be only a couple of games deciding the top five,” he said.