North Melbourne champion Brent Harvey has hailed the persistence of teammate Daniel Wells and warned rivals that an even more brilliant best is still to come from the WA star.
Wells was in scintillating form in last Sunday's win over St Kilda and looms as a key to a Kangaroos upset of West Coast on Saturday as the Eagles head to Hobart's Blundstone Arena for the first time.
The 27-year-old has endured intense scrutiny and criticism while trying to meet the high expectations of being the AFL's sole WA draftee in 2002.
He has also battled a string of injuries and had life-threatening blood clots in his lungs during the past pre-season.
But Wells amassed 65 possessions in the Kangaroos' past two wins, and Harvey said it showed he had yet to fulfil his vast potential.
"Daniel Wells was always going to be a very good player and he has been for a long time," Harvey said.
"The way he trains, there's probably not a harder trainer at the footy club.
"His professionalism, the way he treats the young guys around the football club, he's a fantastic leader and that just took a little while to develop.
"The good thing about it is that he's got a lot more improving to do. It (last week) is definitely a sign that there's more to come and that's the promising thing for our young group.
"The future's pretty bright for our club when you've got people like Daniel Wells leading the way."
Harvey said that after consecutive wins over Adelaide and the Saints, who he described as bogy teams, North would tackle West Coast filled with confidence.
"For us to go out and play against a good team again for three weeks in a row is another challenge for our youngish type of group, but something we're looking forward to," he said.
Coach Brad Scott has insisted since the win over the Saints that his team will no longer be bullied by the big guns of the competition. West Coast will put that undertaking to the test.
Scott said he had felt "guilty" at times sending young players out to learn against opponents many years their senior, but that time had passed.
"We're expecting a fierce clash down there," Scott said.
"We're under no illusions that we've still got a lot of work to do and we've said that repeatedly throughout the season.
"The coaching staff and the match committee haven't lost sight of the fact that we've still got a lot of things to work on and we've got to improve to bridge the gap between us and the best.
"This is just another opportunity to test ourselves and see where we're at. We do take heart from the fact that we've had some pretty good clashes against West Coast in the past.
"But you look at the quality of the West Coast side and while they have got superstars, it's more the evenness and the discipline to adhere to their game structures that sets them apart from everyone else."That will be a great disciplinary challenge for us."
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