On the eve of just his 30th AFL game against Geelong on Saturday night, young West Coast spearhead Oscar Allen is solidifying his spot in the Eagles’ line-up.
But in a forward line that includes the likes of dual Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy and All-Australian Jack Darling, the 21-year-old has had to take on duties as the second ruckman in his push for selection.
At 194cm tall, the versatile WA product is emerging as West Coast’s first choice as the sidekick for Nic Naitanui as they push for a second premiership in three years.
And while Tom Hickey has been unlucky to fall out of favour as the back-up ruck option, the former Saint has been a surprise mentor for the young Eagle.
“Nic is a big one (mentor) and the other is Tom Hickey who’s taken over as a ruck coach and mentor for me,” Allen told AFL.com.au.
“He’s been an AFL ruckman for over 100 games and he has a lot of insight as to the best way to use your body.
“He understands what other rucks want to get out of the stoppage against me and he’s been really good prepping me each week and reviewing games with me as well.”
After being dropped for round three, Allen has since all but locked in his spot in the Eagles’ line-up as Naitanui proved his dominance over Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy in West Coast’s 66-point win over the Pies on Sunday.
In that game, Allen notched up 14 disposals and kicked three goals – proving his forward prowess alongside West Coast’s twin towers in Kennedy and Darling.
The young gun will play his 30th AFL game tonight against Geelong at Optus Stadium.
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