UPDATE: West Coast defender Blayne Wilson's long-awaited debut against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Sunday is a reward for a young man's perseverance in the face of serious injuries that threatened his career.
One of WA's most promising juniors in 2009, Wilson was originally from Peel but now plays at East Perth after the Thunder and Royals exchanged AFL-listed players in preparation for their club alignments with Fremantle and West Coast next year.
His is a debut that may have come much sooner had he not been cut down first by the groin complaint osteitis pubis, then a serious ankle injury.
West Coast ruled out captain Darren Glass (hip) and forward Mark LeCras (arm). Ashton Hams and Wilson will play, but Pat McGinnity and Mark Hutchings were cut from the squad today.
St Kilda lost Sam Fisher (foot) and dropped Jackson Ferguson. They named Beau Maister in their 18 with Trent Dennis-Lane, Clint Jones, Sam Dunell and Josh Saunders on their bench.
The challenges Wilson had to overcome have ensured that both his former and new WAFL club were rapt for him last night.
Peel president John Ditchburn, a one-time teammate of Wilson's father Dean at South Fremantle, said the 21-year-old had shown great character.
"He is from a good family and I played with his dad at South Fremantle," Ditchburn said.
"He is a good kid and I will tell you what, he works hard. I know over the off-season he spent a lot of time in our gymnasium when other players were off on players' trips. He worked his butt off and is very dedicated."
Ditchburn said those surrounding Wilson had been concerned for his career, with his development all but stalled by injury for two seasons.
He spent his early days on West Coast's list after being taken in the 2010 pre-season draft on a long rehabilitation from osteitis pubis, and then had the back half of 2012 derailed by a serious ankle problem after eight games.
"I think his form this year speaks for itself," Ditchburn said. "He has claimed some pretty good scalps."
The scalps include gun WAFL players Tim Geappen and Josh Mellington.
Royals football manager Mark Winnett said Wilson had probably been the best of the Royals' aligned players.
"He has been outstanding for us, probably the most consistent of our aligned players this year, rarely beaten. He has embraced the club and the culture too so he has been fantastic," Winnett said.