West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson has praised improving midfielder Jamaine Jones' round one performance, labelling the livewire as the club's best performer through the summer months.
Coming into the season as fit as he's ever been, the Portland export started the AFL season with a bang for the decimated Eagles who went down to the Gold Coast Suns by 27 points on Sunday, accumulating 21 disposals, two goals, three tackles, seven marks and a goal assist in a career-best performance.
"He's probably been our best trainer and best performed player over pre-season, and he got rewarded," Simpson said post-match of the 23-year-old.
Despite the midfield taking a significant hit with stars Tim Kelly, Luke Shuey, Elliot Yeo and Dom Sheed all out, Jones spent significant chunks of the contest right in the coalface with eight contested possessions and two clearances with his blistering speed on the outside a noticeable element of his game.
Simpson said Jones - alongside a strong contingent of Eagle youngsters getting a taste of AFL football in the absence of almost a dozen first-choice players - would benefit in the long run.
"The adversity we hit, we showed some resilience," he said. "There was some positivity and growth from some of the guys that went through there (the midfield), they'll learn from it.
"In the end we got outmatched in that area - we feel it'll pay us back one day, but we just don't want to lose while doing it."
During the first quarter of the Cats' 66-point win over the Bombers, the Dartmoor export pulled up sore from the contest and reported difficulty breathing before being stretchered off to hospital.
The left-footer - who kicked two early goals in the win - was cleared of any rib or lung damage but suffered a hip pointer injury.
"I'm doing well, back here on the farm," he said on the club's social media pages. "I just had to go through the necessary things to tick off to make sure there was no internal bleeding but overall feeling great."
The goal kicking machine is a slight chance to play in Friday night's blockbuster against Sydney at the SCG.
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