West Coast reportedly targeting Tiger Nathan Broad’s triple presidency in free agency as veterans Jeremy McGovern and Jamie Cripps close to two-year contract extensions, reports AFL journalist Damian Barrett .
Barrett revealed on Channel 9’s ranked football that McGovern is closing in on a new deal that will be worth less than what he is currently being paid.
The four-time defending All-Australian is believed to be one of 12 AFL players to earn over $1 million in 2022 as part of a five-year deal McGovern signed in 2018.
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It comes as the 30-year-old faces a long season on the sidelines with a hamstring injury sustained during the Eagles’ derby loss to Fremantle that will likely require surgery.
Meanwhile, Broad, who is from Western Australia and will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, is in the Eagles’ crosshairs.
“I think they are trying to bring Nathan Broad from the Tigers as a free agent,” Barrett said in Footy Classifieds.
“They (West Coast) had close contacts with Tim English and Aaron Naughton before this. They missed out, and some people would say they only went halfway with those two guys and weren’t betting on them.”
Three-time Coleman Medalist Matthew Lloyd believes the West Coast should be more ruthless with roster management decisions in a bid to move up the ladder, having fallen since the club’s 2018 win, including the spot 17 last year.
Lloyd went so far as to say the Eagles should only offer McGovern a one-year extension “at best.”
“Do they need to be more aggressive as a club?” Lloyd posed at ranked football.
“Have they been too loyal and too complacent as a football club? I feel like they just need to get high quality (players), they can’t overpay anyone.
“Who has been your best young player during the draft in the last few years? Oscar Allen, who has been injured a lot.
“You just have to have high-quality sons of free agents (brought to the club). With all due respect to (Alex) Witherden, Jayden Hunt and those guys, but I feel like they’ve just been recharged and have lacked spark as a football club for a number of years.”
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According to Draft GuruThe Eagles’ 2023 roster ranks as the ninth-most experienced in the competition by average age and the sixth-most experienced by average games played.
ranked football Presenter and former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire highlighted the long road back to successful clubs that have recharged with trades and free agency and retained veteran players, such as West Coast.
“In 2004, the Brisbane Lions achieved four (premierships) in a row and played one final in 14 years. Hawthorn went for four in a row, and that’s it,” McGuire said.
“Sometimes what happens, when you win a flag, it’s very hard to get rid of (players). … Collingwood made a big cut lately and he’s been a couple of years ahead of the West Coast Eagles.
“Imagine if (West Coast) said, ‘We’re going to cut Nic Naitanui.’ People would go crazy.”
Naitanui has yet to play a game this season due to an Achilles tendon injury in a key hit for Adam Simpson’s side.
It is the latest setback in a series of problems that have sidelined the 32-year-old ruckman, who made just eight senior appearances in 2022.
“They gave him a two-year contract late last year, and he hasn’t been seen this year and he may not be seen, at best, until the middle of the season,” Barrett said of Naitanui. .
“That Achilles is really worrying him, they just can’t condition him.
“It has to be said, there is some doubt that (Naitanui returning mid-season) is the case.”
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In addition to Naitanui, the likes of McGovern, Cripps and Luke Shuey are also listed on the West Coast’s long injured list ahead of the club’s 1-2 home clash with Melbourne on Sunday.
Despite their current struggles, McGuire backed the Eagles in moving back in the right direction for years to come.
“When they won the flag in 2006, (in) 2007 they finished third, then they went 15, 11, 16 and rebounded.
“West Coast have a very good ability to go down and break through, because they are such a big and stable club.
“They are not going to fire the coach, the general manager has been there for 25 years, they have everything under control. They know how to hold their ground and go to the bottom, then bounce back.
“If they bounce back in two years and come back for a premiership, I think that’s the game they’re in.
“It’s not sinking, but it’s the way they do it.”