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.
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.
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.
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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