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Five fresh faces to see in AFLX

Josh Gabelich  February 14, 2018 10:37 AM

Irish rookie Ray Connellan will wear the red, white and black for the first time on Friday night.

Irish rookie Ray Connellan will wear the red, white and black for the first time on Friday night.

Two of St Kilda's recent top-10 picks, two second-year players, including one all the way from Ireland, will wear the red, white and black for the very first time on Friday night.

Nick Coffield

After leaping up draft boards through the middle part of last season, when his carnival form earned him All-Australian selection, Coffield has leapt into contention to play senior football early in his debut season. The polished, composed midfielder has been rewarded for his impressive first pre-season at Linen House Centre with an opportunity first-up, following a strong performance in last Friday’s match simulation at Trevor Barker Oval.

Hunter Clark

Much like Coffield, who was selected only one pick after him, Clark has turned heads in his maiden pre-season at the Saints. The smooth-moving midfielder, with the long Hollywood style locks, is a strong chance to feature prominently in his first season at the highest level, so Friday night might be just the entrée for what's ahead.

Ray Connellan

After spending his first year at the Saints learning the nuances of the game down at Sandringham, the Gaelic football prodigy is closing in on a senior debut. The Irishman switched from half-back to a small forward role at the back end of last season, where his lightning speed and high-pressure game could force his way into Alan Richardson’s plans this year. Could this be the start of things to come in 2018?

Ed Phillips

This endurance machine has nipped at Jarryn Geary’s heels all summer long, continuing to drag the group through the long distance running, in another impressive pre-season. After spending his first season running up and down the wing for the Zebras, Phillips engine and neat foot skills will be well suited to AFLX.

And then there is Bailey Rice

The father-son recruit came close to breaking in for a debut on several occasions last season, following an extended run of form at Trevor Barker Oval. Rice featured in one JLT Community Series game last year, facing his Dad’s old side Carlton at their spiritual home, Princes Park. Now at the tail end of his third summer at the Saints, is Rice ready to play senior football in 2018?