West Coast has struck it rich mining for hidden gems in previous rookie drafts.

And the Eagles will back their recruiting team to deliver the goods this Friday, when several rookies appear set to join the blue and gold.

In the build-up, we take a look at West Coast’s biggest rookie draft hits so far.

Chad Fletcher: Pick 28 (1998)

Recruited from: Subiaco

Games: 179

Goals: 74

Honours: All Australian 2004, premiership player 2006, life member 2007

Among the earliest rookies selected by West Coast after the new draft’s introduction in 1997, Fletcher also ranks among the biggest success stories. The hard-working wingman wasn’t the highest profile name in the star-studded Eagles’ midfield throughout his career, however he played a key role as a link man in the engine room. His best season came in 2004 when he was runner-up to Chris Judd in the John Worsfold Medal and All Australian, while he was a strong contributor in the ’05 and ’06 Grand Finals with 20 and 25 disposals respectively.

Dean Cox: Pick 28 (2000)

Recruited from: East Perth

Games: 290

Goals: 169

Honours: Premiership player 2006, club champion 2008, 6 x All Australian, life member 2008

One of the greatest ruckmen of the modern era, Cox was a rookie draft steal. The Dampier product revolutionised his position during an illustrious 290-game career with his ability to cover the ground, find the football and use it with exceptional skill for a 203cm big man. He remains the Eagles’ games record holder, a remarkable feat considering the travel demands throughout his career, although current skipper Shannon Hurn (269 matches) is closing in and could eclipse Cox’s mark next season.

Quinten Lynch: Pick 19 (2002)

Recruited from: West Perth

Games: 209

Goals: 281

Honours: Premiership player 2006, 2 x leading goalkicker, life member 2009

Who can forget ‘The Big Q’ – a hulking cult figure famed for throwing away his glove as he lined up set shots at goal? Lynch was All Australian at under-18 level at centre half-back but still slipped through to the rookie draft in 2002, and he went on to become a critical piece in the 2006 premiership puzzle for John Worsfold’s side. Lynch drilled a career-high 65 goals in that flag-winning season, including three majors in the decider against Sydney – a year after the lion-hearted big man was overlooked for the Grand Final when he battled form and groin issues. Lynch’s 281 majors for the Eagles places him sixth on the club’s all-time goalkicking list.

Mark Nicoski: Pick 25 (2003)

Recruited from: Subiaco

Games: 112

Goals: 61

Honours: Best clubman 2010, life member 2019

Blessed with a raking left boot, Nicoski quickly made an impression at West Coast. He played 11 games in his debut season before going to another level as the Eagles surged towards the Grand Final in 2005. He was among the best players in the heartbreaking four-point loss to the Swans and was cruelly robbed of a shot at redemption in ’06 after breaking his ankle mid-year. Injuries became a familiar story for Nicoski, who produced a stellar 41-goal season in 2011 after transforming into a small forward but didn’t play again after the preliminary final loss to Geelong that year due to a severe hamstring and then wrist problem. He remained with the club, initially working in welfare, before switching to a development role and was honoured with life membership at this year’s John Worsfold Medal.

Brett Jones: Pick 9 (2004)

Recruited from: Claremont

Games: 102

Goals: Six

Honours: Premiership player 2006, best clubman 2011

Injuries also curtailed Jones’ career but the talented sportsman was a more-than-handy contributor to West Coast’s squad during the previous decade. Jones became a reliable defender for West Coast as the club pushed for its third premiership, and enjoyed his best individual season in 2007 when he finished seventh in the best and fairest award after playing in all 24 games. He retired in 2011, adding the best clubman gong to his premiership medallion.

Steven Armstrong: Pick 15 (2006)

Recruited from: Melbourne

Games: 36

Goals: 27

Honours: Premiership player 2006

Originally drafted by Melbourne via pick 25 in 2001, the former Larke medallist was delisted just four years later after 43 games in red and blue. The Demons’ decision to cut Armstrong became the Eagles’ gain, with West Coast offering him a spot on the rookie list in what was an inspired move. Armstrong might have only played 36 games but the small forward filled a need on the list following Phil Matera’s retirement and repaid recruiters’ faith in spades when he famously snapped a crucial last quarter goal in the 2006 decider.

Matt Priddis: Pick 31 (2006)

Recruited from: Subiaco

Games: 240

Goals: 73

Honours: Rookie of the year 2007, club champion 2013, life member 2013, Brownlow medal 2014, All Australian 2015

The rookie draft’s poster boy, Priddis was overlooked in four national drafts and went on to embarrass recruiters across the competition. The prolific onballer – revered at West Coast for his meticulous preparation and leadership – was driven to prove his doubters wrong, and became a star of the competition, renowned for his ability to extract the ball from stoppages and feed outside runners. He collected accolades almost as easily as possessions, and famously claimed the Brownlow Medal despite missing out on that year’s All Australian side. He holds numerous club records – including for tackles, handballs and clearances - but Priddis’ impact at West Coast was felt far beyond his on-field exploits.

Jeremy McGovern: Pick 44 (2011)

Recruited from: Claremont

Games: 126

Goals: 36

Honours: Rookie of the year 2014, premiership player 2018, 4 x All Australian

It feels like a long time ago that McGovern’s career might have been over before it started. But new coach Adam Simpson’s call to send the supremely talented but out of shape tall back to the WAFL in late 2013 was the making of the now 27-year-old. He was recently awarded a fourth All Australian blazer, is widely recognised as the League’s best intercept mark and an elite one-on-one defender. McGovern wrote himself into club folklore by not just overcoming serious injury to play in the 2018 Grand Final, but for starting the chain of possession leading to Dom Sheed’s unforgettable match-winning goal. Despite an inauspicious beginning to his AFL journey, the Albany product is now closing in on life membership and is another stunning rookie draft success story.