Drew Petrie’s chances of extending his AFL career have received a timely boost after his former teammate Brady Rawlings was appointed as West Coast’s new list manager.
Petrie’s career appeared over after being told by the Kangaroos last month that he won’t be given a new deal for 2017.
But with West Coast needing to find a short-term ruck replacement to fill the void left by injured star Nic Naitanui, Petrie is a chance to make a shock move to West Coast.
Those odds shortened on Tuesday when West Coast announced Rawlings would move into the list manager role after spending the previous three seasons as the club’s midfield coach.
Rawlings and Petrie played together for 11 seasons at North Melbourne.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson also knows Petrie well, having captained the 33-year-old during his playing days at the Kangaroos.
Naitanui will miss most of next season after undergoing a knee reconstruction, while doubts also surround the fitness of Scott Lycett after he carried a posterior cruciate ligament knee injury for the second half of 2016.
Journeyman ruckman Jonathan Giles performed admirably when called upon late in the season.
But with Simpson preferring to pair a tall ruckman with a more mobile back-up, the 197cm Petrie looms as a good short-term fix.
Petrie, a veteran of 316 games, can be picked up by West Coast as a delisted free agent.
GWS big man Rory Lobb is rumoured to be at the top of West Coast’s wish list.
But with the 206cm ruckman/forward contracted for next season, a deal will be hard to pull off.
Recruiting a goalsneak is also high up on the Eagles’ priority list.
Fremantle forward Hayden Ballantyne has already expressed an interest in moving to West Coast.
Out-of-favour Eagles defenders Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown could be put up for trade bait to lure Lobb or Ballantyne to West Coast.
Adrian Battiston, who has headed up West Coast’s list management role over the past 18 months, will transition into a pro-scouting and contracts role based out of the club’s Melbourne office.
West Coast’s new midfield coach is set to come from within the club’s current coaching ranks.