Ins – Jordyn Baker (Category B Rookie), Harry Barnett (NAB Draft, Pick 23), Coby Burgiel (NAB Draft, Pick 29), Tyrell Dewar (Category B Rookie), Reuben Ginbey (NAB Draft, Pick 9), Elijah Hewett (NAB Draft, Pick 14), Jayden Hunt (Free Agent, Melbourne), Noah Long (Nab Draft, Pick 58)
Outs- Hugh Dixon (Delisted), Tom Joyce (Delisted), Josh Kennedy (Retired), Zac Langdon (Delisted), Patrick Naish (Delisted), Jackson Nelson (Delisted), Jack Redden (Retired), Junior Rioli (Trade, Port Adelaide)
Draw: Based on the new weighted draw brought in for the 2023 season, West Coast will statistically have the 3rd easiest draw in the competition. The Eagles will face Adelaide, Carlton, Essendon, Fremantle, North Melbourne, and Richmond twice throughout the season.
Forwards: Oscar Allen, Jamie Cripps, Jack Darling, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Jack Petruccele, Liam Ryan, Jake Waterman, Jack Williams, Isiah Winder*,
Midfielders: Jordyn Baker*, Coby Burgiel, Greg Clark, Jai Culley*, Luke Edwards, Andrew Gaff, Elijah Hewett, Tim Kelly, Noah Long, Xavier O’Neil, Dom Sheed, Luke Shuey, Zane Trew*, Connor West*
Rucks: Harry Barnett, Callum Jamieson, Nic Naitanui, Bailey Williams
Defenders: Tom Barrass, Rhett Bazzo, Campbell Chesser, Tom Cole, Tyrell Dewar*, Liam Duggan, Harry Edwards, Luke Foley, Reuban Ginbey, Brady Hough, Jayden Hunt, Shannon Hurn, Jamaine Jones, Jeremy McGovern, Josh Rotham, Alex Witherden, Elliot Yeo
* Indicates rookie/long-term injury listed player
Ones to watch: Experienced players, Dom Sheed, Tim Kelly, and Elliot Yeo all have had a big pre-season after a disappointing year by their lofty standards. All 3 players were standouts in the Eagles win over the Power in the match simulation on Friday evening. Oscar Allen will be a huge inclusion to the side in 2022 (literally and figuratively), after missing the whole of 2022 with a stress-related foot injury. The wide wings of Optus Stadium will suit the leg speed of Melbourne recruit Jayden Hunt. Look for the Eagles to get the ball into his hands as much as possible this year.
Strengths: The Eagles boast one of the best backlines in the competition. They have matchups for both tall and small forwards whilst having players who can intercept the ball and distribute effectively by foot. Tom Barrass dominated key forwards time and time again last year to be named in the All Australian side and win the John Worsfold medal in 2022 (West Coast B&F). Jeremy McGovern and Shannon Hurn are still quality defenders, ably supported by the attacking nature of Elliot Yeo and the drive and leg speed of new recruit Jayden Hunt, expect the Eagles back 6 to cause problems for many forward lines in 2023.
Weaknesses: The Eagles forward line lack the depth required to compete consistently with the top teams in the competition. The retirement of long-time superstar Josh Kennedy will put a significant amount of pressure onto Jack Darling and Oscar Allen. Their depth will be another big issue this year for the Eagles, similar to the problems they suffered last year. Nic Naitanui has averaged 13 games per year over the past 5 years and missed majority of 2022. Without a genuine back-up, the Eagles were dominated at stoppages. Finishing 16th in the competition last year for hit outs and finishing 17th in clearances.
General thoughts: If the Eagles suffer early season injuries it could spell disaster for them. Whilst their top 22 players can compete with any side, their first- and second-year players will have to step up if the Eagles are going to climb the ladder in 2023. All AFL fans will be hoping for an injury-free season for superstar Nic Naitanui.
Coach Pressure Gauge – 6/10 – In 2022, the Eagles went from making finals the previous year to committing to a full rebuild. The Eagles board have backed Simpson in but expect pressure to come at him hard if the Eagles finish in the bottom 4 again, especially with many players over the age of 30.
Breakout year: Jai Culley, Oscar Allen
B&F Winner: Tim Kelly
Tim Kelly – $744,000 -Mid
Elliot Yeo – $625,000 – Def
Dom Sheed – $591,000 – Mid
Jai Culley – $490,000 – Mid
Reuben Ginbey – $284,000 – Def/Mid
Campbell Chesser – $200,000 – Def/Mid
Finishing spot prediction: 15th