2022 AFL Draft Review: West Coast
WEST Coast was one of the big winners in this year’s AFL Draft, particularly on night one as the Eagles got two local midfielders through the door. With seven new players on the list, there’s plenty of long-term cover for the West Australian club. We recap the Eagles’ intake.
#9 Reuben Ginbey (Midfielder/Defender, East Perth/Western Australia)
#14 Elijah Hewett (Midfielder, Swan Districts/Western Australia)
#23 Harry Barnett (Ruck, West Adelaide/South Australia)
#29 Coby Burgiel (Midfielder/Forward, Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
#58 Noah Long (Midfielder/Forward, Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
Local talent was always in the offing for West Coast on night one, with five West Australians taken within the first round. The first to go was Reuben Ginbey at pick nine, a terrific addition to the Eagles’ engine room. At 189cm, he is a powerful all-round athlete whose inside craft is outstanding, and he also played senior footy for East Perth in defence.
Another talent with senior experience, Elijah Hewett, was the Eagles’ next selection at pick 14. Though there was some conjecture on whether he would slide to West Coast’s next pick, Hewett is an explosive midfielder who shapes as a key figure in his new side’s on-ball brigade for the long haul. He had long been touted as one of the state’s premier prospects.
The Eagles went tall with their third selection of the National Draft, snaring the best ruck available in Harry Barnett. With Nic Naitanui there to offer key mentorship in the twilight of his AFL career, Barnett is readymade physically but will have time to develop his craft. The South Australian is a terrific aerial presence and can do some special things around the ground.
Much like the first round, West Coast had two picks close together in the second, and dipped back into the well of powerful midfielders. Victorian Coby Burgiel was their man, another interstate talent who offers long-term depth in the middle of the park. He’s a slick stepper who also hits the scoreboard at a good tick, and had long been linked with the Eagles.
He was joined by Vic Country teammate Noah Long, who West Coast called out with the second-last pick of the draft. The clean and evasive inside midfielder adjusted his game after an early-season collarbone injury, translating his smarts and skill to a small forward role. Again, he helps fill the need of a midfield regeneration, but has a handy point of difference position-wise.
Come the Rookie Draft, there was a sense of familiarity for West Coast. The Eagles pre-listed two Next Generation Academy (NGA) members in midfielder Jordyn Baker and small forward Tyrell Dewar, before re-listing 2020 draftees Isiah Winder and Zane Trew. Their NGA graduates offer a natural skill and flair, as essentially free hits in the Category B rookie slots.