2023 Team Preview – West Coast Eagles

Written by Gunboat Diplomacy on February 10 2023

West Coast Eagles - Wikipedia

Last year descent into madness was inevitable given the Eagles’ list profile and inability to correct longstanding CP and pressure issues but certainly the downfall was more acute, severe and painful to watch than expected. An early corona hit and then injuries for 14 of our best 22 had us running a WAFL reserves team, copping absolutely thrashings and, worst of all, handing North Melbourne their first win. An injury riddled and deflated 2022 however gave the Eagles a nice draft hand and depressed and discounted a decent chunk of their starting line up – giving us plenty to discuss!


Feeling Lucky: Shannon Hurn ($577 800), Alex Witherden ($552 400), Tom Barrass ($510 900) and Jeremy McGovern ($483 400) are all capable of some nice scoring in an over-possesing control heavy system but there’s no real reason to select any of them as starters. Hurn probably ends up the 6th OA defender like he did last year just on consistency but you’re better off kicking it up to one of the 600k guys as he’ll likely defer some of that distribution to the Eagles new backline inclusions…

Chief among them being Elliot Yeo ($337 000), who’s shaping up to be the determinative midpricer at 40% ownership. A known SC quality who’s last 3 seasons have been sharp departures from the 3 that preceded them: 102.1 (21 games), 107.9 (22 games) and 107.6 (21 games) v 89.9 (10 games), 86.5 (12 games) and 68.0 (5 games). Groin and hamstring injuries have been the culprits behind Yeo’s downward trajectory, two types of injuries with low re-aggravation thresholds. A spectacular off and pre-season however has catapulted him back into relevancy, with the only word from the Eagles being he’s dominating the sims, is in tremendous nick and set for a blended MID/HB role. Talent and role are there, just a matter of whether you want to back him at 330k to stay on the park.

Money Maker: Rotating with Yeo in that hybrid role is Reuben Ginbey (DEF/MID, $171 300), who was taken at Pick #9 by the Eagles and was the cream of the WA Draft crop. A hard nosed but slick midfield forward, Ginbey is a must have rookie at this stage. He’ll play Round 1.

Ginbey may also be joined by Campbell Chesser (DEF/MID, $123 900) who also came off some draft clout and is rated internally. Taken the year before Ginbey, we didn’t get to see him last year after a severe ankle injury – of which he was still recently battling the residuals effects. Should ramp up in to full training soon and get a spin in the pre-season games. A wing/HB blend if he lines up Round 1.

Not getting much love but Tom Cole ($182 300) is a premiership defender who’ll slot straight back into the B22. As an accountable defender, he’s had an ignoble SC profile only ever going between 55.2-67.9 in his career – but if he can punch towards the top end of that range, he’ll be able to plug a DEF spot and be a staging ground for that first DEF upgrade.


Feeling Lucky: Tim Kelly ($476 100) was billed as the solution to our on ball metric woes but has been derailed from his brilliant early trajectory at the Cats. Doubt he can dump enough coal into the furnace to be SC viable given where the Eagles are at. Similarly, a premier wingman of the last decade in Andrew Gaff ($463 900) in the twilight years of an illustrious, hard working career but won’t have enough outside ball generation to warrant selection. Dom Sheed ($332 000) oddly enough is the only Eagle worthy of serious SC consideration given his discounted price and a really healthy off-season. Had a career best season of 95 flat in 2019, so you’d need to back him to first hit that 4 years later (including a season missed to injury) and then decide whether a) you’re content with 95~ as an keeper or b) willing to commit the trade to get him up to a premo and net 25~ points per week. A lot of microdecisions with the Sheed pick, all of which are further complicated by the presence of Hopper at the exact price as basically a must have.

Quick shouts to Connor West (MID/FWD, $328 700) and Jai Culley ($276 400) who are the future of the Eagles midfield but probably too awkwardly priced for selection in a bottom eight side.


Lock and Load: You know what, in the current landscape, Nic Natanui ($537 500) wouldn’t be the most ridiculous pick. “But he’s old!” they howled, well yeah but so are most of readers and we kept you lot around. While he is indeed going to be 33 this year and plays very low, managed TOG he put up his career best SC season just two years ago (22 games, 115.1) and has had a very strong pre-season – looking lean, blasting everyone else away at match sims. 8 games last year is, of course, a red flag but even then he still cobbled together basically a triple digit average and scores of 119, 119 and 132. If Tingles has another issue, RoMo isn’t rucking solo and then one of the budget rucks doesn’t pan out, Nic Nat will probably be the best of the established rucks to be honest. Doubt any of us will have the stones to do it and the hesitancy of obviously warranted but watch him finish the year with a bizarrely serviceable average.


Money Maker: The Eagles are not only getting basement DEF rookies off-field but are also doing us the same for us up forward courtesy of Oscar Allen ($210 200) – a summary of which I’ll rip straight from the midpricers piece I did the other day!

A timely return for the budding key forward with Kennedy retiring after having offered his tutelage to Allen. Great talent and previously done some REALLY good totals for a young key forward: 65.9, 78.6 (highs of 122 & 152), 63.6. Now whether he can get back to that after missing an entire season with a foot injury and in a bottom tier side like the Eagles is tricky – especially at 210k, one ass score and his cash gen is cooked. His first six opponents are North, GWS, Freo, Dees, Cats and Port. Not bad: North and GWS are soft, Port’s short FWD line is alright as well and we’ll give the Dockers a showing in the Derby, but the Dees and Cats obviously aren’t ideal. Will be the #1 key forward.


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14 thoughts on “2023 Team Preview – West Coast Eagles”

  1. Great insight GB.
    Currently have Sheed in my team. Feel like a real opportunity to cement mid spot and opportunity for increased CBA’s where as previously he was on periphery. . Also means l can get an extra premium forward or defender .
    Only been burnt once by Sheed and that was him sealing win against my pies .


  2. West coast practice team looks like a lot of SC teams,
    Yeo, ginbey, cole, sheed, Hewitt, Allen…
    Can’t wait for NTH rookies.


  3. Match sim today. best vs rest set up.
    Best team:
    B: Hurn, McGovern, Duggan
    HB: Witherden, Barrass, Shuey
    C: Hunt, Yeo, Gaff
    HF: Ryan, Darling, Cripps
    F: Long, Allen, Williams
    Ruck: Naitanui, Sheed, Kelly
    IC: Ginbey, Hewett, Cole, Culley

    Unavailable : Jones Petruccelle L Edwards
    SPS Bazzo Barnett.

    Chesser, Hurn, Duggan, J Waterman being managed after one quarter. Early standouts are Allen (two goals), Ryan, Rotham, Yeo. Teams being switched up a bit for Q2.
    #Chesser : Moved well and did what he needed, lining up on the wing and using the ball carefully with a handful of involvements. Didn’t look troubled at all, just still being managed.

    Allen was a standout, booting four first-half goals and taking some strong contested marks.
    Elliot Yeo was in excellent touch, rotating between the midfield and half-back, where he regularly drifted to take kick-ins.
    Luke Shuey and Reuben Ginbey also rotated between the centre square and defence.
    Elijah Hewett rotated between the midfield and forward line, with star midfielder Tim Kelly also rotating forward more than he previously has.
    Tom Barrass was back in full training and played the majority of the match.
    McGovern was a standout with his intercept marking, with Josh Rotham starting on the weaker side but also impressing with his rebounding and ball-use.
    Jai Culley was impressive.
    Jack Darling: Is being assessed for an ankle injury. Left ankle trapped awkwardly under a tackle from Jeremy MGovern late in match sim and helped off by trainers.


    1. Great scoop, CT.

      That’s the 22 I expected.

      Nelson binned and Rotham relegated gives 2 spots for Ginbey and Chesser by the looks of it.

      Shuey and Yeo down back going to take some serious economy, even if rotating. Both probably angling for majority MID roles once their match fitness builds and through the gates on injury.


      1. In the match sim: Callum Jamieson was used prominently as the ruckman opposed to Naitanui, allowing Williams to spend more of his time forward.


    1. It’ll be BJ playing as a tall FWD and 2nd ruck.

      No rucking for Allen which, for SC, is a good thing. Not sure why everyone was hard for him getting 2nd ruck duties. Wouldn’t have won many ruck contests.

      He’ll play and score as a #1 FWD.


  4. Soooo, with your blessings, a bit like Grundy (Nic Nat) and Gawn (BJ)….. or will you settle for a Cameron and Cox….. ?


    1. It’ll just be BJ rucking for the 35% of the game that Nic Nat isn’t playing.

      Why the interest, Cham?


      1. IMO…..Preserving of the ages at Weagles with BJ getting more of a utility role as his next step up. (Sound familiar?)
        Was contemplating possible R2…….

        …..but it’s ok, I think the urge has gone now…..


  5. Fantastic write up mate. Thought I’d add a few points. Last I heard Cole hasn’t been very impressive, I wouldn’t be suprised to see him start the wafl.
    Chesser is said to be all class but hasn’t played more than a quater during match sims. Looks to be a sub candidate if he plays.
    Hewett has impressed the coaches and firming for a R1 debut. And summer stand out Long has really impressed Simmo. Firming for R1 as well. I wouldn’t be suprised to see 4 to 5 debutents including Hunt.



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