An abundance of West Coast Eagles talent has committed to the club long term, with Belinda Smith, Kellie Gibson, Sophie McDonald and Lauren Wakfer signing on until the end of the 2026 season.
Experienced defender, and current Eagles’ AFLW games record-holder Belinda Smith will remain in the blue and gold for the next three years, following a career-best season in 2023.
Smith averaged 15.5 disposals and four marks a game last season, and played her role in the backline to perfection, demonstrating fantastic on-field leadership and setting a prime example for her emerging teammates.
“I couldn’t be more pumped to re-sign with the club for the next three years, we as players really believe anything is possible with the talent and potential that we have on the list, and with a lot of hard work, I can’t wait to see where we go,” Smith said.
“The incredible connections that I’ve built with the players and everyone involved in the program over my five years at the club were critical in my decision to re-sign, and I’m so excited to be able to work with Daisy (Pearce) and learn from her.
“My main goal over the next few years is to win more games and play finals, and I think as a group, that’s a universal goal that is driving us to put in the hard work through the offseason.”
Key forward Kellie Gibson will continue to bring her goal-kicking experience for years to come after signing a long-term deal to stay at West Coast.
Gibson had a dominant season on the scoreboard, finishing with 12 majors, the most goals kicked by an Eagle in an AFLW season, and her personal best.
The 27-year-old took her game to another level in 2023, she was a strong and effective target for her teammates inside 50, kicking multiple goals on three occasions, including two in her 50th AFLW game in the final round.
“I’m really happy to be at the club for the next few years, it’s great to know I can play some more footy with this group of girls, they inspire me to work hard, I’m always learning from them, and I’m just stoked to be on this journey,” Gibson said.
“Ultimately, I was excited about staying with this core group of players, like Ella Roberts, Charlie Thomas and Amy Franklin to name a few, we have a special group, and I just love them to bits, so it was an easy decision to stay, I love playing footy for this club.
“I want to keep pushing boundaries, elevating myself, keep on enjoying my time playing this game, and I’d love to play finals with this group.
“I’m excited to work with Daisy (Pearce) over the next few years, she brings a wealth of knowledge and I’m keen to take my game to the next level with her and the girls.”
One of the most consistent performers in 2023, talented defender Sophie McDonald will also remain an Eagle until at least the end of 2026.
McDonald showed off her skills and determination against some of the most prolific forwards in the competition this season, regularly nullifying the impact of damaging opposition goal-kickers.
The Albany local has gone from strength to strength since joining the Eagles ahead of the 2020 season and will continue to play a vital role in the Eagles’ backline going forward.
“It feels pretty exciting right now, I’ve been a part of the team since the inaugural season so I’m pretty keen to see where the road takes us now,” McDonald said.
“The first thing that came to mind when deciding to sign on was the people at the club, I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by a group who have the same goals for how we want to move forward, and we all really push each other to achieve them.
“There’s been a lot of change around the club and I’m really keen to see what the future looks like over the next couple of years.
“I just want to play games at a consistently high level and really take it to every team in the competition, being able to play finals footy would also be a really great outcome.”
Emerging young ruck Lauren Wakfer had an impressive debut season at West Coast and has committed to run it back for at least another three years.
The South Fremantle Bulldogs product played her first game for the club in round one of the 2023 season, returning from a successful ACL rehabilitation.
Wakfer played all 10 games for the season and was recognised for her efforts in round five with a Rising Star nomination, finishing the game against Port Adelaide with 14 disposals and seven tackles.
“It’s really exciting that I get the opportunity to recommit, we have such a youthful group, and I can see us really taking off and improving in the coming years,” Wakfer said.
“We have a really strong group of girls, I’m so lucky I can sign on with 30 of my best mates and go out on that field really give it a crack.
“I want to improve on my personal development, I want to really polish my craft and bring my strengths to the team and make an impact.”