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“The local player is the better outcome”: West Coast list boss details draft strategy

West Coast list boss Rohan O’Brien is unsure whether the club will select local West Australian talent with their two first-round picks at this month’s AFL draft.

The Eagles head to the draft armed with both picks eight and 12 and will be desperate to add the best prospects available after finishing 17th in 2022. Crosstown rivals Fremantle also do not have an early pick.

With the likes of Reuben Ginbey, Elijah Hewett and Jedd Busslinger all local first-round options, O’Brien was asked whether he felt the Eagles would end up with two of them with their first selections.

“It’s really hard to know, to be honest,” O’Brien told SEN WA Mornings.

“All of those boys you just mentioned are good WA talent and they’ll be attractive to all clubs, not just us.

“It’s hard to know whether those players will get through, if they do obviously the West Australian talent is a bonus for us.

“But there’s some really good talent across the board for us so we think we’ll have some good opportunity there regardless of who gets through.”

With an increasing number of players requesting trade homes in recent seasons, O’Brien was asked whether the Eagles’ draft strategy would favour players that hailed from WA.

“It may have changed a little bit, to be honest, but not too much,” O’Brien said.

“WA players have always been attractive to us and if there are two players that are close in talent and type, then the local player is the better outcome.

“But it feels like there’s been a slight shift maybe, I’m not sure whether the pandemic has got anything to do with that but from our point of view, it hasn’t really affected our thinking.

“We’ll back our club in to get the best out of our players and we haven’t had too many leave over the years.

“I’m sure we’ll be looking to keep that the same way in the future.”

This year’s National Draft will take place over two nights on November 28 and 29.

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