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Monday, November 19, 2018

New ruckman Tom Hickey off to flying start at West Coast Eagles pre-season training

Former Gold Coast and St Kilda ruckman Tom Hickey has made an impressive start at his third club West Coast, running strongly in a series of 400m and 200m runs at West Coast’s first training session of the pre-season.
Hickey, recruited as a replacement for Scott Lycett and as insurance pending the return of Nic Naitanui from his second knee reconstruction, outlasted small forwards Willie Rioli and Liam Ryan in a series of runs.
Ryan, it must be said, has work to do and looked short of a gallop in his first run of the summer. He left the field early concerned about soreness at the top of his left leg as West Coast’s first to fourth year players hit the track at Subiaco Oval this morning.
Hickey ran powerfully and confirmed he had worked hard training with former Carlton and Brisbane midfielder Tom Bell to make sure he hit the ground running here.
“I have been kept pretty busy. I got married in the off-season. I have got a good mate in Tom Bell who was up in Brisbane and we trained most days with each other,” he said.
Eagles recruiter Scott Clayton is known to be a big Hickey fan, recruiting him to the Gold Coast and staying on contact with him throughout his 67 games at St Kilda which came on top of 12 games as a youngster with the Suns.
“It is good to have one person in Australia that backs you,” Hickey said today.
“It is really good to have that connection. I got to know Scott reasonably well over the last few years. When I played at St Kilda I always stopped and had a chat if I saw him at an airport. It is nice that someone has followed my career.
“I am lucky enough that there is a spot open here and he came for me. It is time to repay the faith and prove that I can play.”
Hickey will target a berth in round one if Adam Simpson sticks to his two ruckmen policy. He hopes he can show enough to be a forward option if and when Naitanui returns later in the year.
“That is the hope, to play round one,” he said.
“Simmo has always shown that he wanted to play two ruckmen and with Nathan Vardy playing well at the end of last year hopefully there is a spot there open for a ruckman for Vards and if he wants to play two then both of us. All I can do is put my best foot forward and if he wants to play two then and impress in the pre-season.”
He said the opportunity to join West Coast was a “no brainer”.
“My partner (Chloe) had moved three years ago and had a house and had a lot of friends and family but the opportunity seemed way too good to come to the reigning premiers for three years,” he said.
“That was pretty hard to turn down. I think the Saints were trying to get Dan Hannebery through the door and get a few draft picks so they were pretty happy for me to look elsewhere and test the market. As soon as West Coast came knocking it was a bit of a no brainer and too good to be true.”


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