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Clark and Coffield set for first taste

Josh Gabelich  February 13, 2018 4:00 PM

2017 No. 8 pick Nick Coffield could make an early impact for St Kilda in 2018.

2017 No. 8 pick Nick Coffield could make an early impact for St Kilda in 2018.

Coff and Hunts have both been training really well and have both put their hand up for selection in AFLX and JLT.

Top-10 picks Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield have demanded AFLX selection through their form on the track this summer, says St Kilda AFLX Coach Ben McGlynn.

The highly-rated teenage midfielders have quickly adjusted to life inside an AFL club, shining across their first pre-season to earn a spot in Friday night’s 20-man squad, for the games against Essendon and Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium.

Clark and Coffield were selected a pick apart at No. 7 and No. 8 in last November’s NAB AFL Draft, becoming St Kilda’s first top-10 pair since the club chose Luke Ball and Xavier Clarke in the 2001 ‘super draft’.

“Our selection criteria was based around guys who have done enough of the load and been able to handle the short format of AFLX,” McGlynn told saints.com.au on Tuesday afternoon.

“Coff and Hunts have both been training really well and have both put their hand up for selection in AFLX and JLT.

“We obviously want to reward guys who have been training well with a spot in AFLX and those two young guys haven’t put a foot wrong since they got to the club. So we’re excited by what they can bring in the future for the club.”

While Clark and Coffield will attract plenty of attention on Friday night, the Saints will also unveil Irish small forward Ray Connellan and gut running midfielder Ed Phillips for the first time, rewarding the pair for their impressive pre-season campaigns.

“The format really suits Ray; the speed and the up and back nature of AFLX,” McGlynn said.

“He’s itching to get into the seniors and he’s had a really good season, so this style of the game is going to suit him.

“Ed is exactly the same; he’s had a really good pre-season. He’s a great endurance athlete and has good skills under pressure.

“I’m looking forward to seeing both of them on Friday night.”

St Kilda youngsters Ben Long, Josh Battle, Rowan Marshall and father-son recruit Bailey Rice have also been included in the squad to face the Bombers and Hawks.