West Coast has added another promising young defender after landing Alex Witherden in a trade with Brisbane earlier today.
The Eagles secured the 22-year-old in a deal which involved sending their future round three selection along with pick 58 in this year’s draft to the Lions.
In exchange, West Coast received Witherden and selection 86.
Witherden arrives in the west with 59 career games under his belt since debuting for the Lions in 2017.
He has made his name in Brisbane as a prolific ball-winner across half-back, and he looms as a counter-attacking option for West Coast alongside veteran superboot Shannon Hurn next season.
Across his four seasons in the AFL, Witherden is rated elite for disposals (20.7), kicks (15.3), effective kicks (11.7), metres gained (388.4) and rebound 50s (4.7).
The Lions recruited the Geelong Falcons product with selection 23 in the 2016 national draft and he soon became an established member of their defence.
After managing nine appearances in his debut season, Witherden played 44 matches across the 2018 and ’19 campaigns, including both finals in his third year with the club.
The 188cm defender crosses to the Eagles after managing a further six appearances in a shortened season for Brisbane’s preliminary final-bound outfit this year.
Witherden, who is also strong above his head, was nominated for the Rising Star in 2017 and ’18, and has twice been named in the AFL Player’s Association ‘22 Under 22’ team.
West Coast list manager Darren Glass was delighted Witherden agreed to relocate across the country to become part of the club’s evolving backline.
“Alex was contracted for two more seasons in Brisbane and had the option to stay but we are thrilled he wanted to join our club,” Glass said.
“He is an excellent character who will fit in well with our group and his foot skills make him a valuable acquisition for us.
“At just 22, Alex has plenty of growth ahead of him which is exciting. He is in the age bracket where he can grow and develop alongside some of our emerging mid-sized defenders like Liam Duggan, Jackson Nelson, Tom Cole and Josh Rotham in years to come.
“We look forward to welcoming Alex and his partner Grace to the club”.
Witherden follows ex-Greater Western Sydney small forward Zac Langdon by joining West Coast so far this off-season.