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Champion Yeo loving life in Eagles' nest

Travis King,  October 7, 2017 3:00 PM

John Worsfold Medallist: Elliot Yeo Elliot Yeo has taken out the 2017 John Worsfold Medal
Elliot Yeo is focused on producing another stellar season in 2018

Elliot Yeo is focused on producing another stellar season in 2018

West Coast club champion Elliot Yeo could be in for a lucrative payday when he signs his next contract, but the bullocking Eagle is in no rush to extend his current deal beyond 2018. 

Yeo's breakout season was recognised on Friday night when he clinched the John Worsfold Medal ahead of fellow All Australian Jeremy McGovern. 

It was a fitting reward for the versatile 24-year-old, after he bounced back from a disappointing 2016 and confirmed his standing as a key plank in West Coast's future.

A new era beckons as the Eagles transition their list from the AFL's oldest this year, with Yeo, McGovern and wingman Andrew Gaff, who are all out of contract at the end of next season, looming as priority re-signings.

Yeo expressed his love for the Eagles in his acceptance speech on Friday night, and said his teammates would have to "put up" with his pranks for "hopefully a couple more years". 

But the former Lion wasn't hinting at a looming contract extension. 

"No, not at all at this stage. It's just that I love playing football here," Yeo said. 

"It's not until the end of next year (that his contract expires), so we're probably a year away from talks like that, but it is good to be close to friends and family. 

"But it hasn't really crossed my mind. You're probably looking a little bit too far into it there, but we'll wait and see." 

Yeo split his time between half-back and midfield this year, and averaged career-best disposals (23.1) and marks (seven).

A more permanent move into the engine room could be on the cards with the Eagles desperate for pace and power in the middle of the ground.

"It is one of those aspiring things that I would like, to be predominantly midfield," Yeo said.

"But Simmo (coach Adam Simpson) may tap me on the shoulder and say you're going to play backline the majority of this year, or you might play mid-forward. 

"I just have to put my best foot forward over pre-season and hopefully it's more midfield. 

"It's hard to play just one role in a game, you have to play a variety of different roles because of the interchange." 

Many expect West Coast to take a step backward next season following the retirements of Matt Priddis, Sam Mitchell, Drew Petrie and Sam Butler. 

But Yeo believed the Eagles – who will regain star ruckman Nic Naitanui and fellow big man Scott Lycett from injury – would remain in finals contention. 

"Everybody's entitled to their opinion, but internally we're pretty confident and we're going to go pretty young considering the retirees we've got and the talent leaving us," Yeo said.

"It will be an interesting year and I'm quietly confident."