What I Love About My Team In 2024 – West Coast


We love it here at The Mongrel, and it is always best expressed by our writwrs for their chosen teams.

This year, as we head toward Round One, I hand them the ball and ask – what do you love about your team in 2024?

Let’s see what they come up with. John Whinnen is up as he champions his West Coast Eagles. – HB




It’s 2024 – I adore that it’s not 2023 for the Eagles. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a supporter in fair and rough weather but I am partial to the fair, and often. Some good signs in 2023 will translate to the scoreboard this year. Is it too big of a call to predict a top 8 finish?


Harley Reid (It had to be said) – I was a sceptic like most but seeing this kid in action is something else. He’s a ready-made mid with an excitement factor the WA media can’t get enough of. And right on time too, with Nic Nat retiring – they needed a new messiah. Let’s hope he’s not a very naughty boy.


The young guns – I know, I could probably have included Harley Reid in this point but, if the WA media is frothing over the guy, I get my indulgence too. After all, what is the Mongrel if not the god-tier of footy media?

What can you say about the crop of young guns at the Eagles, other than they’re an exciting bunch? Probably my favourite of the bunch, but the highest pick in the 2022 draft is Noah Long. This kid is something special. So special in fact, they’ve given him the last captain’s number 13. Sliding to #58 due to an injury that impacted his draft year, Long played 19 games last year and finished tenth in the Club Champion awards. Watching him live, you can see he’s got the good to be a mainstay in this Eagles side this year.

Reuben Ginbey is another exciting prospect who has cemented himself in the midfield as the bull. Not afraid to go for the ball or the player, Ginbey has a brick shithouse (can we still talk about players’ bodies?) for a body and looks like he’s a 30-year-old gold medal-winning swimmer, all at the tender age of 19. Ginbey averaged 14 touches and six tackles in his 17 games last year before doing his hammy to end his season. Expect a lot more from this kid in 2024.

Rounding out the excitement is Elijah Hewett who managed only 14 games last season due to injury but finished strong with a Rising Star nomination in round 22. Hewett can break a pack and put on the jets getting the ball forward quickly. He didn’t show as much last year as he is capable of, but I am expecting his clearance numbers to be high this year.

The Eagles should be rotating Hewett, Reid and Ginbey through the middle, combined with experienced players like Yeo and Kelly. Don’t expect to click right away but when it does, we’re in for some exciting games.


Williams, Flynn, BarnettPlease note – this was written before the match sim on the weekend, that saw Matt Flynn pull out due to a hamstring tendon injury.

The messiah is gone, and he’s left a giant hole in the midfield. Club legend. Nic Natanui is irreplaceable and while I would still rather have him in my team, I’m excited about the ruck combination this year. Williams had a break-out season in 2023, with very little support for a lot of the campaign. Flynn is by no means a superstar ruckman, but he puts in a shift and throws his weight around nicely. Throw in youngster Harry Barnett and the ruck stocks at the Eagles look okay.

Now, I’ll just have to wait three months to see them play together.


Long live the King – Oscar Allen is finally captain – albeit in a shared role with Liam Duggan – something Eagles fans have long hoped would happen. Touted to be a leader in his first season, it was inevitable that Allen would take the armband once Shuey retired. The captaincy has the potential to help or hinder a player, but I think Allen is well-equipped to handle the added responsibility. Expect 60+ goals from the captain in 2024.


The back room – Let me start by saying I feel for Rohan O’Brien but I’m glad he’s gone. Let me explain that so I don’t sound like a heartless bastard. O’Brien gave a solid 33 years of service to the club, and I will always be thankful for that, but his last few years were not, how should we say, good. It isn’t entirely his fault but the list management of the Eagles since 2021 has been awful. After COVID, the AFL gutted the soft cap of all teams to ensure a level playing field during tough times. While most clubs removed medical or support staff, the Eagles removed a list manager and lumped that role with a Recruiting Manager – something O’Brien was proficient at. The dual role just didn’t work and the performances on the park are directly linked to this howler of a decision made back in 2021.

The Eagles have made a range of sweeping changes in the back room, including a new high-performance manager – Mathew Innes – and Chief Executive – Don Pyke. These changes have been a long time coming and should see the Eagles bounce back to winning ways quickly.