South Fremantle swingman Blake Schlensog’s West Coast train-on chances hit by hard border extension
WAFL star Blake Schlensog’s hopes of restarting his AFL career have been dealt a major blow by WA’s border restrictions.
The West Australian understands West Coast were considering offering the South Fremantle swingman a train-on invitation as they look to fill one of the two vacancies on their rookie list.
But WA Premier Mark McGowan’s sensational backflip on the State’s February 5 border reopening has put those plans in doubt.
The 21-year-old, rated one of the best key-position talents outside of the AFL, went back to his home state of Victoria to visit family and friends over the Christmas and New Year break and planned to return to WA on February 5 quarantine-free.
He will now have to spend 14 days in quarantine upon arrival, a period which would have been during his likely training block at the Eagles.
The Geelong Falcons product was drafted to Geelong at a Category-B rookie out of their Next Generation Academy in 2018, spending two seasons at GMHBA Stadium without cracking a senior debut before he was cut.
The 199cm talent then tried his luck west after former Cats teammate Tim Kelly’s recommendation and was a revelation at both ends of the ground for the Bulldogs before an ankle injury robbed him of a grand final chance.
He kicked 16 goals in 20 games including bags of five and four against Peel Thunder and Swan Districts respectively to attract interest from several interstate clubs during the season including Richmond, St Kilda and his old club Geelong.
West Coast have already invited several WAFL guns to pre-season training at Mineral Resources Park, including Schlensog’s South Fremantle teammates Tom Blechynden and Toby McQuilkin who are expected to start in early February.
East Perth tough nut Kade Dittmar’s training block has finished, ex-Brisbane Lion turned East Fremantle recruit Tom Joyce and Claremont product Logan Young recently started and East Fremantle big man/former Dockers Luke Strnadica has been there since early December.
Strnadica will be sidelined for at least the next fortnight after sustaining a partial tear in the plantar fascia on his right foot during a recent Eagles match simulation session.
He is currently in a moon boot, with his injury timeline to be reassessed in a couple of weeks.
His injury and Schlensog’s border blow come as terrible timing with West Coast desperately low on talls and key forward Jack Darling’s career hanging in the balance after his anti-vaccination status was revealed by the club on Friday.
Clubs have until March 9 to sign players up in the SSP period with plenty of other West Aussies in the mix interstate including Subiaco premiership forward Nic Martin (Essendon) and East Fremantle tall Josh Cripps (Carlton).
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