Prospects rise for Colledge
Prospects rise for Colledge

Brant Colledge could be granted his second wish in the space of 24 hours if the teenager is selected for West Coast's finals-deciding clash with Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

It would cap off his signing of a two-year contract extension.

The Eagles announced yesterday the 19-year-old had joined midfielder Mark Hutchings in re-signing until the end of the 2016 season.

The commitment is a strong sign of West Coast's faith in the 192cm Colledge, who has so far managed only two AFL matches approaching the end of his second season on the list.

West Coast are expected to make at least two changes for a game they must win to feature in September. Xavier Ellis (AC joint) is a forced omission while veteran ruckman Dean Cox could be rested with the match just six days after the demolition of Collingwood.

Colledge is being strongly considered on the back of a solid fortnight with WAFL affiliate East Perth.

The 2012 No.45 draft pick kicked a goal and finished with 22 disposals in the win over Swan Districts in Bunbury last Saturday, having played both midfield and forward in a similar role to Ellis.

Adam Carter and Ashley Smith are two other options after both were emergencies last Sunday, particularly with Mark LeCras (calf) in doubt.

However, Carter is still yet to earn an AFL appearance this season under coach Adam Simpson and has not played for almost a fortnight.

Smith was given a chance as recently as last month but was dropped after managing just four disposals in the Eagles' round-18 loss to Richmond in Perth.

Colledge's development this season has been hampered by injury.

He took almost a month to recover from a sickening collision after being kneed in the face by teammate Scott Lycett playing for East Perth during a Foxtel Cup match in May. An ankle injury then stalled his comeback.

Colledge's manager, Anthony van der Wielen, said negotiations on the contract extension were completed quickly.

"Brant is very happy that West Coast have shown the faith in him to extend him for two years," van der Wielen said.

"It shows he's a bit of a work in progress. It says a little bit about his character too because he had a bit of an interrupted first season and it would have been easy for some people to doubt him."

Hutchings has been justly rewarded with his own contract extension, first flagged by _The West Australian _last month, after cementing his spot in West Coast's line-up.

The 23-year-old has played 14 matches in 2014 and emerged as an effective tagger in curtailing Adelaide gun Patrick Dangerfield, Richmond captain Trent Cotchin and Brisbane's Pearce Hanley.

Hutchings said it had been good to test himself against the league's best players. "I am looking forward to improving my football and being part of a successful team," he said.

It says a little bit about his character …" *Anthony van der Wielen *

The West Australian

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