From Woosha with love: Eagles pre-draft

As part of a club-by-club series, we look at the the long, slow, methodical West Coast list rebuild by John Worsfold.

West Coast Eagles Training Session

WEST COAST
Live selections: 7, 22, 23

It is rare that you would go from one season to the next at an AFL club with absolutely no one in a particular depth chart. West Coast went close last year with only David Wirrpanda and Mark LeCras at the small forward position. This year, Wirrpanda has retired and LeCras has already signalled a full-time move into the midfield, so after missing out on the likes of Mathew Stokes in trade week, the club that brought us Phillip Matera will go into the national draft with precisely zero full-time small forwards.

Last year, the Eagles had a bunch of picks one or two before the Dockers, and didn’t their crosstown rivals make them pay for their insistence on plumping for midfielders by taking just the type of players that John Worsfold would have wanted to pencil in for this year’s draft. Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Walters are the sort of homegrown WAFL graduates that Woosha will be looking for.

It should also be pointed out that with a cupboard completely bare of goalsneaks, the Eagles are going to need to draft multiples of this kind of player, if only because balanced AFL lists have not just the crumbing kind of attacking small forward, but also the nuggety Daniel Chick type to provide physical presence at ground level. It would be an indictment on Worsfold’s list management, especially given the opportunities spurned last yeear, if the club that draped a premiership medal around Chick’s neck developed a reputation for being lax on rebounding defenders streaming from their forward 50. This issue will fester as long as the likes of Ashley Hansen and Ben McKinley lurk inside forward 50, two players noted for their statuesque immobility when the ball is in opposition hands.

The only other slightly pressing concern for West Coast in a reasonably full list is at outside midfielder, where the retirement of Chad Fletcher and the trade-out of Brent Staker create a slight gap in their coverage. This is one area where Worsfold can not be faulted for his offseason work, however, as ex-Lion Bradd Dalziell will surely find the vast expanses of Subiaco’s wings to his liking.

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