There has never been a club walk away from a NAB National Draft thinking ‘geez, we messed that up.’
But the West Coast Eagles can sit back and assess their work over the trade and draft period content with the quality of the players the recruiting staff bring into the club and the range of cover they offer.
After opting out of the rookie draft today, the Eagles will focus on integrating their array of fresh faces.
The influx of talent started six weeks ago when former No.6 draft selection Sam Petrevski-Seton was lured from Carlton with selection 52. Highly talented, with 94 games at senior level, he comes with the credentials to make an impact at his new home.
While he played largely in defence for the Blues, it is anticipated he will play through the midfield and forward at the Eagles.
Over the last two nights, the Eagles continued to build their list, headlined by first round selection Campbell Chesser, an elite runner and classy ball user who will likely head west post-Christmas because of the current border restrictions.
While a lack of football in Victoria over the past two years – as well as a niggling knee injury – restricted him to a handful of games in that time, he had made a big impression on Eagles recruiting staff.
A state level 200m runner, he has great acceleration and his smart decision-making combine with his ball skills to round out a wingman or midfielder who was an All-Australian at under-16 level when also being captain of Victoria Country.
Chesser was the sole selection on the highly-anticipated opening night of the draft and then the focus fell entirely on Western Australia, with the Eagles recruiting four individuals of varying capacities who offer exciting cover across the ground.
Brady Hough, from Harvey, has already played senior football with Peel, gathering 26 touches in his only WAFL league match. A classy wingman blessed with a turn of a speed he could develop into an inside and outside midfield option.
Lightly framed at this stage he is endowed with footy smarts and will soak up the opportunities to learn from the senior midfielders at the club.
The name Bazzo is well known in WA football circles, with Rhett’s late father Steve having a strong impact at WAFL level, playing 230 games with Swan Districts, West Perth and Peel.
Rhett has inherited a healthy helping of football intellect and while he is a key position player rather than a midfielder like his father, he was high on the radar of the West Coast recruiting staff.
He played in Swan Districts’ colts premiership team and played a key role when shifted onto Claremont star Jacob van Rooyen (taken at #19 by Melbourne) who had started the game brilliantly.
While he is more adept in a defensive capacity at this stage of his career, he has also been used forward.
With cover through the midfield and with a key defender in their pocket, the Eagles then locked in East Fremantle key forward Jack Williams.
A natural forward with good finishing skills, the 195cm Williams is strong overhead and presents well. He was also used in the ruck in the Sharks colts team in a season that yielded 40 goals in 15 games for one of the youngest players in the draft pool.
Originally from Melbourne, Williams moved to Perth a seven-year-old and is also a gifted basketballer.
The exclamation mark on the club’s draft hand came with the selection of 24-year-old Subiaco star Greg Clark at #62.
So often disappointed on draft night, Clark finally felt the elation of earning an opportunity at the highest level after 93 senior games with Subiaco, three premierships and the Simpson Medal in this year’s triumph over South Fremantle.
The 193cm midfielder will continue a strong historical link to junior club Sorrento-Duncraig which has seen the likes of Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis, star forward Jack Darling, tough midfielder Adam Cockie and emerging defender Luke Foley make their way to the Eagles.
Combine the six players who have become Eagles this post-season with the likes of Luke Edwards, Connor West, Isiah Winder and Zane Trew, who made their way to the club in the last 12 months, and the club has a strong list of emerging talent.
Edwards, Winder and West all tasted senor football in 2021 while Trew was impressive before being impeded by a back injury in the second half of this season.
Recruits in a snapshot
Sam Petrevski-Seton (traded from Carlton for selection #52)
DOB: 19/2/1998 Height: 182cm Weight: 80kg Position: Utility Games: 94 Carlton
Campbell Chesser (selection #14)
DOB: 27/4/03 Height: 186cm Weight: 83kg Position: Midfielder
Brady Hough (selection #31)
DOB: 5/3/03 Height: 189cm Weight: 74kg Position: Midfielder
Rhett Bazzo (selection #37)
DOB: 10/10/03 Height: 195cm Weight: 81kg Position: Tall utility
Jack Williams (selection #57)
DOB: 1/12/03 Height: 195cm Weight: 95kg Position: Key forward
Greg Clark (selection #62)
DOB: 24/5/97 Height: 193cm Weight: 94kg Position: Midfield