Eagles faithful laud McGovern
Eagles faithful laud McGovern

Dangerous West Coast forward Josh Kennedy has described exciting youngster Jeremy McGovern as the best marking player he has seen following his stunning start to his AFL career.

McGovern has played four matches since being upgraded from the rookie list and his past three matches have yielded 11 contested marks and eight goals.

The 22-year-old is clearly West Coast's leading contested marking player in those games.

Shannon Hurn is next on eight, while Scott Lycett , Eric Mackenzie and Nic Naitanui have each taken four contested grabs.

Kennedy said McGovern had exceeded expectations.

"His body work is exceptional. The way he launches for the footy is better than anyone I've seen," Kennedy said.

"The way he takes it at its highest point and clunks it, he does really well.

"In terms of how many he takes and how every time he is in that right position, it's amazing."

McGovern's delayed start to his career means Saturday's tussle against Fremantle will be his maiden western derby.

But he is unlikely to be the only derby debutant. Premiership pair Xavier Ellis and Sharrod Wellingham are also yet to experience the ferocity of a WA derby, while Fremantle recruit Colin Sylvia is also awaiting his chance to play for the club against the Eagles.

The big difference between McGovern and the trio though is that he has played just four games.

Ellis and Wellingham have both played in multiple grand finals and Sylvia has tasted finals and significant MCG crowds in his previous life as a Melbourne player.

But Kennedy said McGovern would relish the chance to play on a big stage.

"It's going to be good for him to experience that. He is a big- game player and he loves those moments," Kennedy said.

"He's chilled out and relaxed and doesn't look like he gives you much, but he knows when to take the game on and when to launch for them and take the game- saving mark.

"It's really good that he's getting a crack now. The way he goes about his footy, he just has a crack, he's always aware of everything around him and he's easy to play with."

West Coast need to beat Fremantle to stay in touch with the top eight, while the Dockers have won five straight and have designs on a top-two finish.

The combination of Kennedy, McGovern and Jack Darling in attack will present a unique test for Fremantle, who are still without All-Australians Michael Johnson and Luke McPharlin.

The Dockers pair haven't been absent from a derby at the same time since 2009.

Dean Cox's return after being freshened up means both he and Naitanui will rest forward at stages, further stretching Fremantle's defence.

The West Australian

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