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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