West Coast midfielder Jack Redden will embrace the electric atmosphere at a packed Optus Stadium tomorrow in what will be the largest crowd of his career.
Almost 60,000 people are expected to converge on Optus Stadium for the first AFL game at the venue.
That figure will eclipse the record for the most fans to attend a WA sporting event — 53,781 at the one-day international cricket match between Australia and England at the stadium in late January.
The biggest crowd Redden has played in front of during 163 games for West Coast and Brisbane was when 47,788 watched the Lions’ clash with Collingwood in 2011.
Redden is one of eight Eagles preparing for the biggest crowd of their career, including debutants Liam Ryan, Jake Waterman and Daniel Venables.
The match is expected to produce the third-largest home-and-away crowd in West Coast’s history.
“It’s exciting. Obviously I haven’t been able to play in front of crowds like this before,” Redden said.
“The important thing is to embrace it and really enjoy it. It’s going to be an electric atmosphere and we’re lucky that they’re all on our side.
“I’ve played a couple of finals and they were decent crowds, but nothing like what it’s going to be like on the weekend. It’s going to be exciting. It’s a new thing for me.”
Jackson Nelson and Will Schofield joined Ryan and Venables in the final 22 after the extended interchange bench was cut yesterday, with midfielder Mark Hutchings a notable omission.
The team will include eight new faces from the side that was knocked out of last year’s premiership race by Greater Western Sydney.
Sydney have selected veteran Jarrad McVeigh on the bench, despite an injury-interrupted pre-season, alongside Harry Cunningham, Oliver Florent and Robbie Fox.
Redden is hoping to start 2018 in the same form as he finished last year. The midfielder averaged 24 possessions, five tackles and four clearances from the last 10 games and has worked closely with assistant coach Sam Mitchell during the pre-season.
“There’s no real excuses for me this year,” Redden said. “I’ve had a really good pre-season, I feel good and I’ve worked closely with Sam Mitchell which has been great. He helps with little things in games.”