The West Coast Eagles have been dealt a heartbreaking injury blow, with new draftee Kayley Kavanagh rupturing her ACL in the WAFLW last weekend, requiring surgery to repair the damage.

The injury occurred early in Saturday’s game between East Perth and Peel Thunder, with the 18-year-old suiting up for the Royals on a number of occasions so far this season.

Kavanagh was selected by West Coast in the 2023 AFLW draft with pick no. 14, the inside midfielder hailing from the Calder Cannons and Victoria Metro.

She had an outstanding 2023, earning All-Australian selection and winning Victoria Metro’s most valuable player award.

Eagles AFLW senior coach Daisy Pearce said the club will rally around Kavanagh and support her through this difficult time.

“We’re all feeling for Kayley, who since arriving at the club in February has been working really hard on her development, with her determination and competitiveness on show in everything she does,” Pearce said.

“She had an impressive attitude towards playing some WAFLW and really endeared herself to players and coaches at East Perth, so it was such a shame to see her involved in this accident early in the game last week.

“It’s another blow to the team, having only recently seen ‘Tildi’ (Matilda) Sergeant go through the same thing, but we’ll do everything to support them both through their rehab.

“We and will make sure we look for ways to continue to develop them as people and footballers, to ensure this is just a small part of their stories at West Coast.

“Both Kayley and ‘Tildi’ have already started asking how they can continue to support the team, which is a credit to their character and part of the reason why we drafted them both.”