Jakovich tells Hurn to ditch the tags
Shannon Hurn needs to learn to deal with taggers, says Glen Jakovich. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Former West Coast champion Glen Jakovich has challenged Eagles defender Shannon Hurn to prove he can shake tags and drive the club's revival this season.

The call came as Hurn, a player widely considered one of the most critical ingredients to the on-field fortunes of the Eagles in 2014, signed a three-year contract extension.

The 26-year-old had qualified as a restricted free agent, but the announcement means the South Australian is likely to play out his career based in WA. He will be 30 by the time his deal ends in 2017.

The 134-gamer, who has made his name for precise kicking off half-back, was hampered by a serious ankle injury last year and did not play after round 13.

The Eagles won just three of their remaining 10 matches and tumbled to 13th place by the end of a horror season.

Jakovich warned Hurn to expect heavy attention this year, with opposition teams aware of how damaging he could be.

"No side is going to give him free rein, so he needs to bring a few more tricks out of his playbook," the two-times All- Australian defender said. "He's got to learn to deal with tags.

"He got tagged a couple of times in the latter part of 2011 and '12 against some quality players and quality negating tactics and he didn't handle them that well.

"Shannon didn't have a chance to resurrect it last year because of his injury.

"Whilst he's a very good attacking player, he needs to be able to override a defensive tag against him."

The presence of recruits Xavier Ellis and Elliot Yeo in the back line this season is expected to take some of the heat off Hurn, who said it was an exciting time for the club.

"You always have to consider your options," Hurn said. "But I have no intention of going anywhere else, so I thought we'd settle things early."

Meanwhile, Brownlow medallist and long-time commentator Gerard Healy has predicted West Coast will surge back into the top four this season.

"I love their recruits … Yeo is a serious pick-up given the serious injury to Beau Waters," he said.

"Clearly the most exciting player in the competition in Nic Naitanui is coming back and I think every club is reinvigorated with a new coach and the Eagles have a beauty in Adam Simpson."

The West Australian

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