A young man who is part of the most exclusive of clubs, another with remarkable football pedigree and two exciting tyros keen to make their own impression on the game. The West Coast Eagles list management and recruiting staff should be well satisfied with the results of the last 24 hours.
In circumstances where the club did not enter the NAB AFL Draft until 51 selections had been made, the Eagles could be content with the outcome.
Last night the club secured Luke Edwards, the son of 321-game Adelaide Crows legend Tyson Edwards, who played in both of the Crows premierships in the 90s, with their first selection and followed up by securing exciting Peel midfielder Isiah Winder.
And today, in the rookie draft, strong bodied Swan Districts midfielder Zane Trew was added to the list before the club initiated the return of Daniel Venables, a member of the club’s 2018 premiership outfit who is recovering from a head trauma sustained in a game against Melbourne in the middle of 2019.
It is true that no club comes away from the draft disappointed, but the Eagles have covered the bases nicely.
Add GWS forward-midfielder Zac Langdon and Brisbane defender Alex Witherden into the mix and the quality of the talent coming into Mineral Resources is undeniable.
Edwards was available because the Crows could not commit to taking him as a father-son selection and the Eagles recruiting staff were excited to have the rebounding Glenelg midfielder/defender, heading west.
Winder, from Eaton, played colts with Peel and showed plenty of dash through the midfield. He was snared with selection 57 and loom as a likely prospect, having already played senior football.
There is always at least one player who slips through the order to the point of disbelief. That player in 2020 was Trew and the fortunate beneficiary was the Eagles, who called his name with selection 12 in the rookie ballot.
After a restless night when he did not receive an AFL destination on night one, the impressive youngster now has a home. And he’s determined to make his mark.
The last name nominated by the Eagles was that of Venables, a popular young man with an inexorable link to the club after playing in the 2018 triumph. Since that remarkable day, the developing forward has had little fall his way, but he is determined to do all he can to return to the game he loves.
List manager Darren Glass, one of the great players in the history of the Eagles, has transformed into his administrative role and despite the many and varied obstacles thrust in his path – as well as that of the recruiting team led by veteran Rohan O’Brien – they would feel comfortable with what the draft delivered.
It always takes time to assess just how successful any draft has been, but a good start is the quality of the men – and their excitement about starting their AFL journey with the West Coast Eagles.
“Luke played with Glenelg Football Club this year across all grades,” Glass said. “He played some really good football at under-18s level, played some reserves and even managed a senior game.
“He is a versatile player; we think he can play in the midfield and we would like to grow and develop him in that space, but he also has some versatility. He can also play forward and can play a bit off the half-back line as well.
“Isiah is similar to Luke in a lot of ways. He’s versatile and played a bit in the midfield at colts level, then worked his way into the league team at Peel and played both forward and back. So again we like the versatility.
“Zane is a pure midfielder; he’s clean and creative with his hands, he had an outstanding year in the Swan Districts colts and we were excited that he was available to us through the rookie draft.
“Dan is still rehabilitating from his injury, but we are optimistic he will continue to progress and he will do that under our care.
“He will come over a time that best suits him, according to his training progression and rehab. Hopefully we see him over here sooner rather than later. He’s fully committed to getting back to play AFL footy and we’re fully committed with him.”
So the mystique belongs to the three untried youngsters, but the romance belongs to Venables. The West Coast Eagles fan base will enjoy watching the progress of all four draftees, as well as Langdon and Witherden who have already shown they are able to play and impact at the highest level.