The West Coast Eagles have been granted a stand-alone WAFL team, but they will need top-up players to take on the other nine sides each week. Regional sports journalist Mitchell Woodcock takes a look at 10 players who could fit right into the side.
1. Jace Cormack (Donnybrook)
There are few better players running round in country football at the moment than Jace Cormack. The 2016 Hayward Medallist has won three South West Football League premierships and would fit right in at WAFL level. His leg speed and superb kick would make him an asset coming out of the midfield.
2. Josh Bootsma (Katanning)
The former Carlton key position player has been showing his skills in country for the past couple of seasons and there is few with of his size with his consistency. Bootsma won a premiership with Peel Thunder in 2016 and is still young enough to make it at the next level if he had the determination to.
3. Kade Stewart (Katanning)
Since returning home from Hawthorn, Stewart has been in superb form. The reigning Leo Graham Medal has been a dominant force and at just 21 years of age, is young enough to be puit back on an AFL list.
4. Leigh Kohlmann (South Bunbury)
One of the best forwards in country football, Kohlmann has the athleticism and stamina to play at WAFL level. Kohlmann’s biggest asset is his ability to take strong marks at the highest points. Played 27 reserve games for Swan Districts, with the last of them being in 2016.
5. Daniel Leach (Brigades)
Subiaco’s dynamite midfielder has been fantastic for the Lions for two years, but has played just the one league game. Would surely love more time at league level and would slot into a midfield/half-forward role if needed.
6. Mat Michael (Collie Eagles)
The son of South Fremantle legend Stephen, Michael is one of the best marks in country football. The natural leader took the South West Football League to victory in the Landmark Championship. He has the ability to play at both ends of the ground.
7. Ben Whitsted (Dowerin-Wylie)
The former Swan Districts midfielder was a finalist in the WA country footballer of the year and could well be used as a run-with player. Was fantastic at the Landmark Championships this year, winning the Division Two Best and Fairest award and has the experience to make an impact.
8. Jack Hick (Augusta-Margaret River)
This raw talent tried his hand at East Perth, but because of their alignment with the Eagles he was often played out of position. Returned to the Hawks this year and dominated up forward, helping the South West side to a preliminary final. Could be a constant up forward for the Eagles WAFL side.
9. Michael Wright Jnr (Chapman Valley)
The young forward has shown plenty of endurance, beating Geelong’s Harry Taylor in a yo-yo test in Geraldton last year. Wright has played a handful of games for East Fremantle’s colts team and could look for more opportunities if given the chance.
10. Chris Scott (Rovers)
The 2017 Mel Whinnen Medallist was given an opportunity by Rob Wiley to play for East Fremantle, but has spent the majority of his season in the reserves for the Sharks. The ruckman would regularly leave Geraldton at 3am to play for the Sharks, showing his fantastic commitment.