The West

Bearded Eagle ready to challenge Hawks
Will Schofield. Picture: Getty Images

It’s the beard that’s divided opinion at West Coast, but Eagles defender Will Schofield has no intention of getting the shaver out any time soon.

Schofield and teammate Chris Masten started their beard adventure together back in April as something fun to do on the side.

Although Masten quickly reverted to his clean-shaven ways, Schofield has continued the journey to the point where he is looking more and more like infamous bushranger Ned Kelly rather than an AFL player.

“I’m trying to bring beards back. Not many other people are catching on though,” Schofield said ahead of Friday night’s blockbuster against Hawthorn at the MCG.

“We’ll just keep the beard for the moment.

“I’ve trimmed it a tiny bit - not too much though.

“It takes a lot of care. It’s a lot of effort. If it was easy to do, everyone would have beards.

“I get a lot of comments. Everyone seems like they’ve got to have their two cents on it, but it doesn’t really bother me too much.

“Some like it - some don’t. I’ve got some big fans at the club. Some of the players wish they could grow it.”

Schofield and his fellow defenders will have their hands full at the MCG on Friday night as they attempt to contain Hawthorn’s potent forward line.

With Eric Mackenzie set to take on Lance Franklin and Darren Glass expected to lock horns with Jarryd Roughead, Schofield is likely to take on former Crow Jack Gunston.

Franklin booted 4.3 in last week’s win over Sydney, but Schofield said the 25-year-old might still be vulnerable following a recent six-week stint on the sidelines.

“He’s been out of the game a few weeks, so there’s plenty of ways you can exploit him,” Schofield said.

“I think you’ve just got to try to beat him one on one and then work off him a little bit.

“He’s been a proven player over many years, so you can’t stop him taking marks and kicking some goals. It’s just about minimising his impact as much as you can.

“Roughead and Franklin are a great combination.

“But Glass is in All-Australian form and Eric’s been playing great footy as well. So we’re pretty confident our pair can match their pair.”

The Eagles will secure a top-four berth if they can knock off the ladder-leading Hawks, but a loss could result in West Coast sliding to fifth.

The West Australian

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