2023 AFL Season Preview: West Coast Eagles

After a long season for West Coast with injury and Covid, can the Eagles be a threat to the rest of the competition?

Recap of last season

After West Coast placed ninth on the ladder in 2021, their season turned to the worst when they slid down eight positions on the ladder to place second last for a very long season for the Eagles in 2022.

The Eagles experienced their borders opening for the first time since the Covid pandemic, and it made things hard for the playing group with players catching the virus throughout the whole season.

A memorable match for the Eagles last season was when they took on North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, with the club urgently seeking players due to injuries and half the team catching the virus.

How can they improve

The Eagles may have had a few rough matches last season, however, the club were scrambling for players every week and always had a different team.

Since West Coast claimed the 2018 Premiership their team is a completely different side with a lot of new players and their current players on their last legs.

With a lot of the senior players out of the team due to injuries or the virus, there was not a lot of leadership on the ground for the Eagles to lead out the younger players.

There is no excuse this season for the Eagles, and could be make or break if it is a back to back poor season for them. Both the young and older players need to be contributing for their side to win matches.

List changes

Ins: Reuben Ginbey (pick 9), Elijah Hewett (pick 14), Harry Barnett (pick 23), Coby Burgiel (pick 29), Noah Long (pick 58), Jayden Hunt (Melbourne), Jordyn Baker (rookie), Tyrell Dewer (rookie)

Outs: Josh Kennedy (retired), Jack Redden (retired), Junior Rioli (Port Adelaide), Patrick Naish (delisted), Hugh Dixon (delisted), Tom Joyce (delisted), Jackson Nelson (delisted), Zac Langdon (delisted)

Biggest strength

Despite a lot of West Coast Premiership players retiring, the club did really well on draft night picking up four players in the top 30. The Eagles needed to draft well considering their exists from the club.

The return of a lot of Eagles from injury will be a relief for fans to see on matches, too allowing the younger players confidence to look up the older players on game-day.

Biggest weakness

West Coast's biggest weakness would have to be the departure of a lot of their players including three Premiership players. Two time Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy is the biggest loss for the club kicking 723 goals over his career as an AFL player.

It comes down to a lot of their younger players needing to fill in their shoes, it is going to be difficult however given a lot of the players have only played limited matches.

Rising star

Having missed the entire 2022 season Oscar Allen will be make a huge difference in the side this season. With the departure of Kennedy and forward Jack Darling on the verge of retirement Allen will make a huge difference in the Eagles' forward line.

Having kicked 66 goals in his 59 matches for the club, Allen will have a huge role to play as Kennedy's replacement. At 196cm he will be physically tough for the opposition to play against, along with his ability to mark in contests and goal accuracy.


Although it does not look as though the Eagles will be a threat to the competition, it is important that the club competes against the rest of the competition whilst having players fit and available to play.

Although the Eagles should be competitive and better compared to last season, it does look as though the club is on the cusp of a rebuild. It looks like the Eagles' list is not as experienced as other clubs.

It will however be exciting to watch the Eagles' younger players' performance and what is to come for future seasons for the club.

Ladder position: 17th