West Coast Eagles set for priority AFL draft pick despite club’s incompetence

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Calls for struggling AFL club the West Coast Eagles to be given a priority pick have continued to mount, with pundits describing the move as ‘inevitable’.

Speaking on Fox Footy’s Midweek Tackle, Herald Sun journalist Jay Clark was adamant that the Eagles will be given compensation for their woes that have amplified immensely since the start of 2022.

“I feel it is inevitable – they are $1.01 to get a priority pick at the end of the year, and they are borderline unwatchable in the meantime,” Clark said.

“When you watch the West Coast games – I mean we’re a bit bored by them getting flogged every week.”

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The Eagles have won just five of their last 52 AFL games, and have not won consecutive matches since Round 19, 2021.

To give some context to the extent of their losses, their 76-point deficit last weekend to the Western Bulldogs didn’t register as one of their 10 worst losses since the start of 2022.

Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy was of a very similar vein to Clark on commentary during their match against the Bulldogs last Sunday, stating that ‘they’re in a hole.’

“I’d like to hear someone mount a case for them not get a priority pick,” Healy exclaimed.

“I know Mark Duffield, a senior journalist out in the west, wrote a column about that during the week – I couldn’t agree with him more; this is a club who needs some assistance.”

On top of their abysmal record, Clark was also critical of the club’s list management in their darkest hour.

“This is a team that traded the world for Tim Kelly, which didn’t make any pro-active moves to bring in some early draft picks,” Clark added.

Fellow panellist Scotty Gullan joined Clark in his assessment of the Eagles’ choices at the trade table, stating that their inability to let go of 2018 premiership players may have capped their ceiling to grow.

“They’ve kept the coach, against a lot of people’s surprise… McGovern, Darling, Gaff, Yeo; they had an opportunity to trade a couple of them out to get picks, to then build the list – (and) they didn’t do it,” Gullan said.

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Solution for upset clubs in Gather Round

Journalist Sam Landsberger has spoken to several clubs on the matter, with many disagreeing on the ideology that West Coast should be compensated for poor performance with priority picks.

“Self-inflicted incompetence was what one club said… (their) last two seasons are a disaster, but they’re so far off North Melbourne,” Landsberger revealed.

“Only three clubs have won a premiership since West Coast did (in 2018).”

Clark rebutted his colleague’s position on North Melbourne, noting that West Coast’s recent run of form is not dissimilar to the Kangaroos.

“They gave North Melbourne priority picks for being roughly the same level of team… they’ve got two years of priority picks, how do you then say to West Coast ‘No you don’t deserve one,’” Clark questioned.

“I think them asking for a priority pick goes against the fabric of that football club – they are so rich, powerful, wealthy; they do things their own way,” Landsberger finished by saying.

Before North Melbourne, Gold Coast was the last club to receive an assistance package from the AFL.

In 2019, the Suns were provided with Pick 1 and Pick 20 of the 2019 draft, a mid-first round pick along with pre-draft selections, as well as the first pick of the second round in 2021.

The Eagles have a chance to register their first win of 2024 against Sydney this Saturday in Mount Barker at Adelaide’s Gather Round.

Originally published as ‘Incompetence’: Rival clubs fume as basketcase Eagles ‘$1.01’ to get AFL handout