Co-captain Brendan Lee has backed East Perth's alignment with West Coast to come up trumps in coming WAFL seasons.
Lee has returned to the Royals after a year with Essendon in which he played two AFL games and won the Bendigo Bombers' best-and-fairest award as the club's premier player in the VFL.
The hard-working midfielder said he had overcome early reservations about the new partnership model for the league which aligned East Perth to the Eagles and Peel to Fremantle.
Lee said the link with West Coast could only benefit the club which notched a hat-trick of WAFL premierships starting in 2000 when it was last linked with the Eagles in a host-club arrangement.
"I definitely had my questions coming back from Melbourne and how that alignment was going to work," Lee said.
"From the past three or four months it has only worked well and the resources that West Coast have been able to push down and help out with has been great.
"It's been great for the younger guys at the club to develop and to help push their game to the next level.
"It would be silly not to pull some resources down from what we can get hold of and implement what- ever works to our strengths."
Like Lee, Peel captain Brendon Jones said he was initially concerned about the WAFL's partnership model which has been introduced in an interim form this year.
"I guess at the start it was a bit of a surprise," Jones said.
"Obviously where we have been in previous years, we probably needed it a little bit more than any other club.
"I guess now for the players it's just positive going into this year."
Lee's promotion to the senior leadership role with experienced midfielder Craig Wulff is a sign of the high regard in which he is held at East Perth.
The 25-year-old said his game had improved because of his brief time in the AFL system.
"I've definitely come back a better and more balanced player, especially having improved on some of my weaknesses," he said. "I obviously wasn't away for too long at all and not as long as I would have hoped.
"But I'm a big supporter of WAFL footy and it's great to be back in the black and blue. I'll have some new strategies and hopefully we can have some success this year.
Lee said he looked forward to playing alongside Wulff and under new Royals coach Brian Dawson.
"Obviously Brian having a lot of success in his time at Swans brings a lot of fresh strategies and a fresh voice and the boys have been really receptive to those," he said."It's been great to get back with Craig to lead the boys. I have known him for a long time, have looked up to him and it's been great to learn from him over the past few years."
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