The West Coast Eagles got their business done relatively early during a productive player movement period ahead of next month’s highly anticipated National Draft.
Swooping on Matt Flynn was a focus for the Eagles, and the former Greater Western Sydney big man was secured on the first day of the free agency window.
The 26-year-old followed another unrestricted free agent across the Nullarbor – after impressive utility Jayden Hunt last year – and bolsters West Coast’s ruck depth.
Fighting out of his weight division, Bailey Williams battled manfully in now-retired champion Nic Naitanui’s absence in 2023 and finished sixth in the John Worsfold Medal as a reward for his career-best campaign.
But adding 202cm and 107kg big man Flynn, who is ready to push for a No.1 ruck spot, could free up the high-leaping Williams to spend more time in his preferred role as a forward-ruck.
“Recruiting a physically mature ruckman was a priority for the club this off-season and we believe Matt heading across to Perth is an opportunity for him and for us,” List Manager Rohan O’Brien said.
“He has played some good AFL footy and he’s the type of ruckman who can play a significant amount of game time in the ruck, which should allow Bailey to play forward more regularly.
“They are different types of ruckmen too, so we think that mix will help us around stoppages.”
On Saturday, the Eagles landed former Hawks small forward Tyler Brockman, with the Subiaco product heading home following a trade involving picks 44 and 63 heading to Hawthorn.
West Coast had the option of taking the uncontracted 20-year-old to the pre-season draft but dealt with the Hawks and gained access to Brockman in time for the start of pre-season training on November 6.
“It was important to us that Tyler could join his new teammates on day one of pre-season and he gets to settle his young family back in Perth with that certainty,” O’Brien said.
“He’s a talented player who we have tracked for some time and we think another full pre-season under his belt will be really beneficial.
“Tyler has a few tricks up his sleeve and is good friends with Liam Ryan. It will be exciting to see them playing in attack together next year.”
While there was plenty of noise around West Coast’s prized No.1 pick in the draft the Eagles are leaning towards retaining the selection.
The club has not called out the first player in a draft since snaring Michael Gardiner in 1996, and dual premiership star Drew Banfield was the only other dux of his draft class to head to the Eagles back in 1992.
Selections for this year’s draft are open to being traded until Friday, November 10 and then again on draft night.
“We are happy to listen to any offers but by no means are we putting a price on pick one,” O’Brien reiterated.
“We are trying to bring in elite young talent as we transition our list and it’s not very often you have pick one at your disposal, so it would have to be an extraordinary offer for us to consider trading that selection.”
Last year, the Eagles took their first top 10 draft pick (Reuben Ginbey, ninth overall) since selecting Andrew Gaff (No.4) in 2010 and will continue to invest in youth when the draft is held on November 20 and 21.
Aside from pick No.1, West Coast holds the valuable first pick of the second round, currently at No.23 overall, plus selections 37, 58 and 81.