Opinion The Best Eagles...Never

Remove this Banner Ad

Altum Volantes

92 - 94 - 06 - 18
Aug 4, 2003
18,420
13,687
WA
AFL Club
West Coast
Well it’s the off season, so what better time for a bit of reflection on the past.

The Best Eagles....Never!

....by that I mean those players that held a list spot at The Eagles, gained some small notoriety but never actually pulled on the jumper in a senior game.

I have hand picked my top 5 (in no real order) - each with their own story of their time at the Eagles and beyond - would love to hear some more thoughts and memories of guys that for whatever reason, never ended up running out in the blue and gold. The only qualifying factor being that had a spot on our list at some point - whether it be Senior or Rookie list, and never played a senior game - pre season is fine.

nb - I have excluded Tim Watson from my list, for the unfamiliar WCE selected him in the 1992 Pre-Season draft - he never intended to play for the Eagles, never signed a contract or travelled west. Plus ya know, he spent 2 years as an Essendon mouth piece during ‘the saga’ and that completely destroyed his credibility. Ew.


C7691A24-A37A-466B-83A7-B9753B1173EC.jpeg

Brad Smith: 2005-2006

There was time before Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling that WCE was a barren wasteland for key forwards over 5 foot 7. Phil Matera battled manfully as our chief target in the early Worsfold years but it was pretty obvious that we needed an actual full sized key forward to truly contend for the premiership. Enter back to back reigning Bernie Naylor Medallist Brad Smith of Subiaco - a 25 year old Superboot that was going to save our forward line and lead us to the promise land. It wasn’t to be. Brad went down with an ACL in his first pre season with West Coast and missed the 2005 season. The hope was still intact leading into 2006 - we had just narrowly missed out on a flag with a make shift forward line and Smith was due back. Then disaster strikes again - another knee for Smith and another season lost. The club appealed to the league for a special exemption to move Smith to the Rookie List in 2007 (rules were different back then) - this was denied and Smith’s AFL dream was over. To his credit, Smith went back to the WAFL and won 2 more Bernie Naylor Medals and played in another premiership - ending his WAFL career a 4 time leading goal kicker and a 3 time premiership player. The guy could play.

574BFD18-1E68-43C8-BA83-DB8B1922A762.jpeg

Lewis Broome: 2010-2011

Hailing from a remote Kimberly community, lightning fast goal sneak Lewis Broome was something of a long shot to make it at AFL level but he’s fondly remembered by Eagles fans for his starring efforts in a Pre-Season Derby circa 2011, combining with fellow diminutive forward Ryan Neates to light up Subiaco Oval. Sadly that was as good as it got - Broome decided AFL life wasn’t for him and headed back to his home town Looma during the 2011 campaign without registering a senior game. He briefly re-emerged at Sydney reserves in 2012 but was unable to find his way back into the AFL.


D99CE0C1-9A1E-4C79-8FF9-61141A2065EF.jpeg

Lee Walker: 1993-1994

The legend of Lee Walker has grown over the years - another victim of knee injuries, I can recall stories of transplanted tendons from motorcycle crash fatalities and all sorts of dramas for this genuine ‘Coodabean’. Walker was listed at the Eagles for 2 seasons - and suffered a major knee injury while at the club. An impressively sized key forward prospect, Walker was earmarked for a bright future - so much so that we traded him to Collingwood for Pick 12 in the 1994 draft (picked used on Shane Sikora, never mind..) - he went on to play senior footy at the Pies - but it was short lived as Lee went down with a further 2 knee injuries, ending his AFL career on 16 games, all for Collingwood.


66106067-2969-4D08-98E6-677AD06BD9A4.jpeg

Matthew Burton: 1990-1993

A memorable player in his own right - Matthew ‘Spider’ Burton was the tallest player in league history before Aaron Sandilands came along. The 210cm ‘galloping hat rack’ went onto a respectable 147 game career in the ruck with Fremantle (an original Docker) and North Melbourne (during that weird period where they kept recruiting Dockers), but before all that, Burton spent his formative years on the Eagles list. Perhaps his greatest WCE achievements rank as being the tallest guy in each team photo and his moderately disturbing ‘Ventriloquist and Dummy’ act with club legend Dean Kemp sat on his knee at the Player Review shows. That said, few game-less Eagles went onto more successful careers elsewhere - good on him!


8FAFDAF1-A255-4C51-B778-F9B614F1CF22.jpeg

Alec Waterman - 2015-2016

As the years go by, we have seen a handful of ‘genuine’ Father-Son selections come through but few more held the excited of Alec Waterman, son of Premiership hero Chris. Considered something of a steal at the time, Waterman joined the club in 2015 but was sadly soon struck down by Glandular Fever - a debilitating condition that derailed his time at WCE before it had really started. After 2 years on the list and struggling with fitness, Waterman was delisted and stepped away from the game periodically to focus on his health. A sad story - but is it over?

Waterman returned to senior football at Claremont in 2019 and in 2020 played a key role up forward for the Tigers as they made their way to the GF. At the time of writing Alec is on the radar for an AFL return in 2021 - it’s unsure whether he will join his brother Jake at the Eagles or perhaps find a home elsewhere but either way, let’s hope he finds his way back to the big league and plays some senior football.
 

MrWoollie

All Australian
Jul 28, 2008
604
994
England
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
Lincoln City Imps, West Perth
Good writeup AV.

Brad Smith was a a genuine loss who should have been an AFL star.
He was desperately needed over that 2005-7 period when we had the best midfield in history (or equal to the Brisbane one of 2001-4) but an absolute bag of spuds up forward. Possibly the worst forward line in the AFL at the time.
Phil Matera was good, big Q was a decent 2nd or 3rd tall but not a solo target, and that's it. Ash Hansen had bad knees, shoulders and back meaning he couldn't bend down to the ground ball, couldn't reach above his head to mark, had the turning circle of the QEII, the pace and acceleration of a stalled Trabant and the strength and physicality of a stalk of grass. And the rest were even worse.

Put Brad Smith at FF, move Q to CHF and have Phil Matera playing the small role and the team suddenly looks very different. Would have made a 2005-6 double a certainty and a 2005-7 3-peat a distinct possibility.
 

squashface

Masten and Waterman
Feb 26, 2012
10,439
25,018
Perth
AFL Club
West Coast
In: Brad Dick
 

Log in to remove this ad.

Monocle

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 18, 2003
8,041
18,745
Western Suburbs : Perth
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
Claremont. New England Patriots.
Injuries robbed the West Coast Fans and the general footballing public three players in our history that were destined for big careers.


On talent alone. # 1.

D99CE0C1-9A1E-4C79-8FF9-61141A2065EF.jpg


We got to see so little of his best. # 2

download-11.jpg


The most unfortunate Eagle ever drafted, who's AFL career was cut short before it even got a chance to start. # 3

C7691A24-A37A-466B-83A7-B9753B1173EC.jpg
 

Miguel Sanchez

Say hello!
Aug 10, 2006
38,263
41,041
Shandong Gold Stadium
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
Royal Pines Eagles
Great thread. I’d like to nominate Matt Allen who has the club record for most times as an emergency without ever cracking the senior side. 14 times in 2018 and 2019 he was in the squad, but was just never given that next push up.

With guys like Brayshaw, Reid and Foley debuting this year you’d have to think it would have been his time had he still been on the list.
 

Bleedblueandgold

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 9, 2009
6,520
4,733
AFL Club
West Coast
Brad Dick could've been a star had his body not repeatedly failed him. Showed plenty whenever he was able to get on the park in the WAFL.

Bad luck befell Brad Smith at the wrong time during his 2 years at the Eagles. Who knows what could've been if we had kept him for one more year in 2007. Kicked 126 goals in the WAFL that year. Deserved a chance in the AFL.
Looks like we could've re-drafted him in the 2006 national draft, but instead we chose Channel Nine sports reporter Michael Thomson's son James with our final pick, who never played a game either.
 
Last edited:

Altum Volantes

92 - 94 - 06 - 18
Aug 4, 2003
18,420
13,687
WA
AFL Club
West Coast
Great thread. I’d like to nominate Matt Allen who has the club record for most times as an emergency without ever cracking the senior side. 14 times in 2018 and 2019 he was in the squad, but was just never given that next push up.

With guys like Brayshaw, Reid and Foley debuting this year you’d have to think it would have been his time had he still been on the list.
Love this contribution! - Matt Allen - the ultimate in so near but so far. Must have been brutal for the guy to spend that long in the mix without cracking a game.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

campaigner___

Club Legend
May 30, 2018
1,676
3,165
AFL Club
West Coast
Great thread. I’d like to nominate Matt Allen who has the club record for most times as an emergency without ever cracking the senior side. 14 times in 2018 and 2019 he was in the squad, but was just never given that next push up.

With guys like Brayshaw, Reid and Foley debuting this year you’d have to think it would have been his time had he still been on the list.
Can't help to think how handy he'd be on our list right now... You'd think he would've gotten a run this season and is only 23...
 

Remove this Banner Ad