While West Coast’s on-field form certainly hasn’t thrilled many and injuries have cruelled them over the past couple of years, they have certainly given opportunities to players that give value to all AFL Fantasy coaches.
Coach Adam Simpson remains the coach (to the displeasure of some fans) but this should provide some certainty into how the Eagles will play, and having historically been a high-possession team this should provide us with some gems if we look hard enough.
Elliot Yeo has had his recent career destroyed by injuries. But Yeo is a guy who can perform when he is at his best. Even as recently as last year, Yeo was able to put together a mid-season patch of form that resulted in scores of 84, 94, 95, and 98. However, injury hit once again and it largely ruined the rest of his season. If he has been written off by many in your league, you may be able to snatch up a steal late in your draft.
As recruitments go, Jayden Hunt was one of the few hits for the Eagles in 2023. He pulled out a career-high 76.7 AFL Fantasy average in 2023 in what was his 8th season. Having held defensive status for 2024, Hunt should expect similar numbers and be a handy D5 if you are willing to wait in your drafts to nab him.
The Breakout Contenders
In a rebuilding side like the Eagles, we should expect a few breakouts. This, combined with players retiring, should provide plenty of opportunities. Brady Hough is one such player who has everything going in his favour for a breakout. With Hurn’s retirement as well as being a 3rd-year breakout candidate, we should expect Hough to improve on his 61.5 AFL Fantasy average from 2023. He is a lovely kick, has bulked up (he had to), and has shown a great ceiling with scores of 111 in round 17 and 105 in round 23. Hough is one to target for the Eagles.
Reuben Ginbey certainly looks like another who will be given every opportunity to make his mark in the Eagles midfield. He opened his AFL career with early comparisons to Clayton Oliver with his ferocious attack on the footy and physical strength. This coincided with scores of 92, 71, and 82 to start his career. Had some injury speed bumps in the middle and end of the season, but will be given every opportunity to make a midfield spot his own. He finished 2023 with an AFL Fantasy average of 57.9, but with midfield slots so valuable, he is certainly someone to keep tabs on during the pre-season.
We wouldn’t ideally talk about rookies in this slot, but there are a few exceptions. Harley Reid is one of these. Has some of the biggest hype you are likely to see for a draft pick in many years. He is armed with midfielder/forward status in AFL Fantasy and with recent reports coming out from the west state that Reid will start his career rotating between the midfield and halfback. There is reason to believe he could replicate a Harry Sheezel/Nick Daicos type of start to his career and go 80+ AFL Fantasy in his first season.
The Stash Options
West Coast has a heap of guys to keep an eye on this pre-season due to their need to transition to youth. One such player is Noah Long. He was given Luke Shuey’s number 13 jumper which is a sign that they rate his kid long-term, and has been touted as a future leader at the Eagles.
The Eagles also have Harry Barnett to look forward to in their future. Had huge fantasy numbers in his junior days, and with a less than certain ruck situation at the Eagles he could potentially jump above Flynn and Williams quickly going forward.
Two final names for this section are both currently injured and expected to miss the start of the season, but Elijah Hewett and Jai Culley are both highly exciting young midfielders to keep an eye on.