Two key pillars around whom the foundations of the West Coast Eagles rebuild will be structured have extended their commitment to the club.
Classy midfielders Reuben Ginbey and Elijah Hewett who were central to the complex pick swap at last year’s National Draft have agreed to remain at the club until at least the end of the 2026 season.
The Eagles surrendered #2 in exchange for two selections which became #9 (Ginbey) and #14 (Hewett) after NGA and father-son selections kicked in. That was a calculated gamble by the Eagles as they sought to land two quality players from the deal.
They believed that if the cards fell their way they could land both Ginbey and Hewett. Their crystal ball provided an accurate forecast.
Ginbey, from East Perth via Dunsborough, had an exceptional first season interrupted by a hamstring injury and would surely have been prominent in Rising Star calculations had he not suffered that setback early in the round 18 match against Richmond.
To that stage of the season he had played all 17 games and was one of only six players to feature each week – along with Oscar Allen, Jayden Hunt, Andrew Gaff and Bailey Williams.
“I have recently signed on for another three years at the club and I couldn’t be more excited and I have just loved my first year here,” Ginbey said after signing a deal that ensures he’s at the club until the end of 2027.
“As soon as I came into the door with six other first year players you become best mates. And to be led by senior players like Bunga and Boots, who unfortunately are leaving, but it is now time for the younger boys to drive the club forward and it has just been an awesome year.
“It was disappointing doing my hammy in round 18 but it was an honour to play 17 games. If someone had told me at the start of the year I would play 17 games I would have said they were dreaming.
“The hammy is feeling really good three weeks into rehab and I can’t wait for next season.”
Hewett has also made a strong start to his career, playing 12 games, and his explosive speed and strength have been on show both through the midfield and also when he has pushed forward.
After an ankle problem and then a concussion he has played the last eight games in succession and last week earned the round 22 Rising Star nomination, following on from Ginbey (round 3) and another young midfield bull Jai Culley (round 6) to earn the honour.
“Me and Reubs are absolutely stoked to extend,” said Hewett whose deal takes him to the end of 2026. “I’m a West Coast Eagles person, I absolutely love this club.
“I’m super excited for what’s happening in the future and grateful that I can continue my football with this club.
“It has been a crazy year, so many ups and downs. I have learnt so much and super fortunate to be alongside a great group of boys. The experience is invaluable and we’re going to take it along in the next few years.”
List Manager Rohan O’Brien said the club was delighted that the exciting young pair had re-committed to the club.
“We see Reuben and Elijah as important players in the long-term plans of the football club,” O’Brien said. “We have been impressed with that they have shown in their first season at elite level and we really look forward to seeing their continued development.”