Duggan earns the respect of Eagles

Shayne HopeMelbourne

West Coast teenager Liam Duggan is a star in the making after producing another eye-catching display in the 53-point win over St Kilda on Saturday, according to teammate Luke Shuey.

Duggan produced arguably the best game of his fledgling career against the Saints, racking up 23 disposals, six marks and four tackles.

After being taken with pick No.11 at last year’s National Draft, Victorian recruit Duggan has quickly adapted to senior football.

The 18-year-old made his debut in the Eagles’ big win over Carlton in round two and was used as the substitute before becoming a regular in the starting side.

West Coast haven’t had a Rising Star nominee since 2011, when Shuey and Andrew Gaff were both nominated for the award that was eventually won by Essendon’s Dyson Heppell.

But the Eagles feel they might not be far off breaking the drought with classy left-footer Duggan.

"He’s going to be pretty special," Shuey said.

"There’s been a lot of talk about Duggo but he’s got a great head on his shoulders and he’s a great young kid.

"He goes about everything the right way, so we love playing footy with him."

The rise of youngsters Duggan and Elliot Yeo as regular contributors, as well as the return from injury of senior player Scott Selwood, has bolstered West Coast’s midfield group in recent weeks.

Yeo was used to plug holes in defence early in the season and performed admirably, but has quickly developed into a star since being moved into a more permanent midfield role.

The former Brisbane player is now in career-best form, having booted nine goals averaged 22 possessions during the Eagles’ five-game winning streak.

"He’s a very versatile player, which is important for us," Shuey said.

"He can go forward and take a clunk and he’s hard as nails as well, and he’s clean.

"He’s a great inclusion for us in the midfield and we feel we’re starting to get some reasonable depth now."

Selwood spent five weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury and was used as the substitute in his return match against St Kilda.

His fitness could be crucial to West Coast’s prospects at the business end of the season.

"It’s a really important inclusion for us," Shuey said.

"He just gives us that tough edge around contests and we’ve missed him.

"Despite how many games we’ve won over the last month, we’ve still missed him in the midfield."

The improving midfield unit has played a key role in West Coast racking up five straight wins for the first time since the start of the 2012 season.

The Eagles are sitting pretty in second spot on the ladder, but are well aware of the challenges that lie ahead, starting with Sunday’s game against Geelong at Domain Stadium.

"You’ve got to regroup after a couple of wins in a row and start to focus on what’s coming up," Shuey said.

"We’ve got to make it happen.

"Over the last few years we haven’t really had a winning culture so it’s good to start getting on top a bit.

"We’ll move on from (the St Kilda game) pretty quick and then regroup and focus on a really tough Geelong side this week.

"Very rarely Geelong drop off and they’re playing really good footy again now so we’ve got a great challenge at home."