West Coast brings its highest selection into the 2021 AFL Draft since taking Andrew Gaff, and there are Subiaco stars on its radar.
After a disappointing season in which injuries took their toll, the Eagles enter the draft with a clear vision of adding depth to their engine room and looking at key position prospects for the future.
With the club expecting finals in 2021, they could be set to target a mature-ager that dominated the WAFL Grand Final, while still grabbing one of the best midfielders available.
2021 AFL Draft: Will a WA midfielder be available at this stage for West Coast?
West Coast draft selections: 10, 29, 35, 68, 86
The Eagles are at the mercy of cross-town rivals Fremantle at Pick 10 (12), with standout midfielders Matthew Johnson and Neil Eramus the ideal candidates for West Coast’s picks.
Johnson is a tall, classy midfielder who looks to have as much time as he wants whenever has the ball. He boasts an elite sidestep and quick hands in traffic, and also tested really well at the WA combine for his speed, endurance and agility. With all those traits at 192 centimetres, it’s easy to see why he has rocketed into calculations as high as Hawthorn’s Pick 6.Embed from Getty Images
Erasmus hasn’t been able to offer the same as Johnson this year, with injuries hampering his campaign. However, earlier in the season he put together consistently great midfield performances for Subiaco. Combine that with his exploits as a forward in his under-age year at Colts level and there’s scope for Eramus to become an elite AFL player. He has a huge vertical leap and tackles well in the contest while remaining composed in traffic.Embed from Getty Images
The Eagles have also been linked to Campbell Chesser, though the Vic Country prospect may be a second choice to one of the two WA boys. Chesser is lightning quick and a good ball user, projecting to become an elite wingman over time.
To round out the options at Pick 10, Ben Hobbs is the premier contested ball-winner in the pool and could be the choice here if he does in fact fall out of the top 10. He also has some of the best leadership traits in the class which is an attractive prospect for the Eagles, who are now eyeing life after captain Luke Shuey.
In the mid-rounds, Toby Conway will appeal as a ruckman for the future. He offers shades of Reilly O’Brien with his aggression at stoppages and great aerobic capacity – here’s hoping he and Nic Naitanui get along just as well as the Adelaide big man.
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Greg Clark also looks a great option here as a mature-ager. The Subiaco star was simply brilliant in the WAFL Finals and looked a class above with his size, aggression and tackling ability. At 24 years old, Clark can step into the Eagles’ midfield brigade from Round 1.
Just as Connor West impressed since being selected in the mid-season draft, the Eagles could gain another valuable contributor in Clark.
Finally, Brady Hough could find himself an Eagle. The Peel Thunder prospect has come from the clouds this year to dominate in the Colts and earn a League berth in the final game of the season. He was electric in that clash, taking nine marks and looking every bit the part.
He has played across all three levels of the ground and has an elite work ethic and good athletic traits at 189 centimetres. He could become a really effective wingman or half forward in time.Embed from Getty Images
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