2022 Team Preview – West Coast Eagles

Written by Gunboat Diplomacy on January 26 2022

The inability to redress their contested possession and stoppage deficiencies combining with a slew of injuries to their experienced but ageing list produced another paltry season for the Eagles. From an SC perspective, the Eagles tend not to blood too many rookies, their high possession kick-mark game is quickly becoming antiquated and a crop of once reliable premiums have run into injury and form issues, bar the inimitable Nic Nat. Looking to 2022, we’ve got a few rookie prospects, a couple of discounted MIDs and of course the aforementioned Nic Nat. Let’s see what the Eagles have to offer.

Defenders

Money Maker: One of the Eagles higher draft picks in recent years, pick #14 Campbell Chesser ($148 800, DEF/MID) is reportedly well past his 2021 meniscus tear, at full strength and training with the midfield. The go looks to be a role on the outside, potentially stints at half back, ahead of long term development as an inside MID. Unlikely to line up Round 1 but if their season is shot leading into the bye the Eagles could very well inject some match exposure into Chesser, making him a solid late downgrade and cover option.

Midfielders

Feeling Lucky: The Eagles’ generally poor contested possession and stoppage profile, as well as a horror run with injuries, have left their previously elite, premiership midfielders battered and largely SC irrelevant but, accordingly, underpriced. Elliot Yeo ($470 800) was a must have in his DEF status days and even as a MID only his impressive ceiling and relentless tackling net him back to back 107 avg. seasons right in his prime. However, he’s since been savaged by osteitis pubis and has been unable to find any continuity. Priced at a sub 90 average, will you take the punt? Similarly, once talk of the town Tim Kelly ($464 700) was not the panacea Eagles had hoped; struggling to adjust, receiving increased defensive attention and his first bout with injury. Could a full pre-season and two years West see him return to a triple figure average?

Money Maker: We always love mature aged recruits. They come in with experience, development and a point to prove, and there’s been some bangers over the years: think Podsiadly, Menegola, Stewart, Barlow. Enter Greg Clark ($117 300). Been carving it up in the WAFL for a while, Simpson Medal winner, overlooked in few drafts and now gets his chance in a midfield is desperate need of some intensity and effort. A must start assuming he lines up in Round 1.

Rucks

Lock and Load: Convential wisdom would suggest that Nic Naitanui ($627 400) should have been well past it by now but out of nowhere he had a capital 2021 . In his 12th season my man put up his highest ever average of 115.3 and played a full 22 games, capping things off with 23 touches and 22 contested against the Lions. Ended up the #2 RUC OA last year and the highest scorer after the bye, with him, Darcy and the Big O blasting Maxxy and Grundy. Ruck options more open in 2022, Nic Nat to be right up there again.

Money Maker: Seen a few teams running Bailey J. Williams ($218 600, RUC/FWD) at R3 for that DPP flexibility. Preuss or Hayes look to be the go at R3 but if they don’t materialize Williams has that job security with the Eagles commitment to 2 rucks in managing Nic Nat, which they seem to have gotten down to a science.

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18 thoughts on “2022 Team Preview – West Coast Eagles”

  1. If I had a guarantee Nit Nat can score like he did last season I’d start him without question.

    First time in a while the rucks aren’t set and forget with Gawndy.

    Great write up GD

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    1. Thanks, Abs.

      Yeah, Nic Nat just keeps defying time and medicine. Who knows? If he had the early bye I wouldn’t be able to stop myself.

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  2. Ahh great to be back for another year with a lot more passion after losing a lot last year.
    Just found this on twitter about Shuey, which I wonder if that will create an impact anyway in the future.

    ‘Not the ideal start at @WestCoastEagles match sim.
    Luke Shuey got the first clearance, then left the ground pointing to his leg. Took GPS out and has gone into the rooms.’
    – Ryan Daniels

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    1. Scans tonight for @WestCoastEagles skipper Luke Shuey.

      I’m told the expectation at this stage, is that the damage to the hamstring is minimal – a minor setback and Shuey remains on track for round 1.

      All involved hoping for no surprises with the scan.
      @7NewsPerth

      Just be aware that this could make players look better in the preseason, but held back when Shuey returns

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    1. Ty, Wighty.

      Don’t really like to do the COVID Crystall Ball stuff but if I had to guess maybe the Eagles and Dockers start the season interstate like you suggested, yeah.

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      1. Cheers Gunboat

        Thanks for the great review. Unfortunately there really not a heap to work with SC wise at WC theses days. You have to think they will have to tinker with the game style and or start playing some kids at some stage in the season.

        Just a few questions…

        Do you think Darlings absence helps with B. Williams JS ?

        I know they highly rate Oscar Allen, ( A heap of Victorian clubs were after him and I think they gave him a fat contract.) They have used him as back up ruck before. Maybe they want to save him as a permanent forward ?

        Do you think all four of Nic Nat, Kennedy, Allen and Williams make the best 22 ?

        Thanks again FT.

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        1. Yeah, ngl we’re pretty SC irrelevant bar Nic Nat.

          I wrote this up before the Darling news, so to answer your questions:

          – BJ Williams was probably set for a spot anyway, we’re committed to the 1-2 ruck combo in order to get the most out of Nic Nat
          – We had Allen plugging holes down back last year, he definitely returns to a permanent forward position with Darling gone
          – and, yeah, it looks like those 4 will all be best 22: Nic Nat and Kennedy doing their thing, Allen back as a FWD and then BJ as 2nd ruck and that 3rd big FWD (we’ve always gone 3 tall, 3 small)

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          1. Thanks GB.

            I’m not sure how he scores in that roll ?

            Though if he’s best 22….

            I guess he’s in consideration for the R3 if Hayes is a bust, or even F4-5.

            With the trend towards maybe going light on Forward Premo’s early.

            He may just get a look in.

            Thanks again and Happy Straya Day.

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        2. As an eagles fan let me say that Oscar Allen is the real deal. I’ve not been more excited about a young Eagle for a long time. Our future best player for sure. Had to play ruck and def several times last year because we already had Darling and Kennedy up forward. With Darling out (and Kennedy another year older) I hope Allen gets put up forward full time.

          That said, he’s awkwardly priced at 346k. You would probably need him to become a premo for that to be worth it. He’s probably a year or 2 or 3 away from his best and only the best KPP’s can produce SC premium scores

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          1. Yep, I’m with you Troy.

            Stints as a 2nd ruck and time down back have stunted his growth but the silver lining of the Darling fiasco will be Allen firmly in a key forward role.

            In a couple years, he’s our man.

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  3. I’m hearing clark has potential to be in our starting teams. E.g., playing in the a team in A’s v b’s etc.

    I have an inquiry about witherden. Do you think he will have a rebounding role (slow??), or kick in role, which could potentially have him averaging 100? I’m keen to watch his trial games. He has scored well at Brisbane. I almost had him last year, but he wasn’t selected round 1.

    Also, how is yeo looking? His lat 7 games he averaged 84.5 center bounce attendances. That’s great. Can he maintain it?

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    1. Hey, xbxx.

      Sorry for the late reply, just saw this now.

      Witherden will have a HB distribution role as he’s a great kick but the problem is the “Hurn Hand-Off” (giving his role to an emerging player) has never quite happened. We’ve tried to develop a few young players in the his role but for as long as he’s in the side his competition best efficiency (literally #1), decision making and foot skills mean he’ll never really give up all his scoring stream to say a Nelson, Rotham or Witherden.

      Hurn will still be around doing his thing, so I don’t think Witherden will have the economy to go 100~.

      On Yeo, he looks to be past the osteitis pubis and training well but Eagles MIDs aren’t that great at SC. Contested possession work still an issue. Still one of my favourite players, of course, but a pass in SC.

      If he looks phenomenal come R1 and you insist on starting him, I’d do it at M6 or M5 and you’ve really put the saved 175k~ to great use.

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  4. My take on WC is this, Yeo is out now with a flair up in his OP, may reconsider if DPP comes along. Chesser seems more a midsection downgrade, Clarke is flying and locked in. Williams named in our Team A in Darlings spot in the match sim and played very well. He’s in for me atm. Nic Nat is said to be the fittest ever, however with WC and Freo likely to hub, I may steer away from all layers from both teams.

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  5. Sorry I’m late to the party here – any thoughts for Willie Rioli at $225K? Last time he played (admittedly two years ago), he was $420K.

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  6. GB thoughts on Nic Nat at R2 and Bailey Wililams at R3?

    If Nic Nat goes down you have auto matic cover for him.

    Having said that Nic Nat has only missed 1 game in the last 2 years. It’s been the most durable run of his entire career.

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    1. Yeah, Nic Nat a great option. We’ve gotten his management down to a science.

      BJ will be that 2nd ruck and 3rd tall. Just won’t score that well.

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  7. GB another question. Thoughts on Connor West?

    There seems to be a few injuries in the eagles midfield currently and
    Connor by all reports is flying and playing in the guts.

    he is a 250k forward, but… if he is playing mid and the rookies are light, might solve a lot of problems.

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