The opportunity to impart his decades of football knowledge on West Coast’s developing players and coaches was too good to refuse for club great and new WAFL Eagles coach Rob Wiley.

A revered figure in the history of the football club, where he is a life member and current No.1 ticket holder, Wiley will lead the Eagles reserves side into 2022 after confirmation West Coast would continue to field a standalone team.

“It’s an exciting challenge, number one, because there are a lot of young men – both players and coaches – that West Coast possess and my experience after all these years, when we started talking I thought that I could be of assistance,” Wiley told Sportsday WA.

“A club that I’ve loved, a club that has meant a lot to me, to be able to go back and assist it’s really a great challenge for me and exciting.

“Sometimes it’s not about age, it’s about energy and passion.

“I really get a lot of reward from developing young men, both as a player but also as a coach and West Coast has got a number of young coaches and development coaches.”

Wiley coaching Eagles forwards Quinten Lynch and Ash Hansen in 2006

Wiley’s association with West Coast can be traced back to the inaugural season in 1987, when the then 32-year-old helped get the fledgling club off the ground in the final act of a brilliant playing career.

He was a key figure in the groundbreaking 1992 flag and ’94 premiership as an assistant to Mick Malthouse, and also helped guide the club to its third Grand Final victory in 2006 under John Worsfold.

Wiley, who coached Perth in 1998-89 and East Fremantle from 2016-18, brings vast experience to the WAFL Eagles, where he takes over from Daniel Pratt - who has returned to the senior program - following a trying, COVID-impacted 2021 campaign that netted four wins.

With greater recruiting ability and fixturing rights, the WAFL Eagles are aiming to develop their players in a more competitive program in coming seasons.

“No doubt in my mind … having your own side is an advantage,” Wiley said in regard to player development.

“They all stay together, they understand the system the senior side is trying to play and then we implement it at the level below.

“The ability to keep them together is great for culture, it’s great for friendship and it’s great for them to develop quicker with the style of footy that the senior coach wants.

“We’ve got to be competitive, there’s no doubt, because to develop players they’ve got to be in winning situations.

“It doesn’t mean they have to win all the time, but they have to be in winning situations to understand and learn that.”