After the challenges of season 2019, no doubt many Club members are keen to know how recruiting for 2020 is progressing! The recruiting process is multi-faceted and in some regard, talent identification is the first and easiest part of the process. Getting to know each potential recruit; their football and career goals in particular, is imperative. Some of this process involves us travelling interstate to meet players however where possible we bring prospective recruits to Adelaide. This is an opportunity for them to meet key coaching and administration staff, and most importantly members of the playing group. We aim to recruit from all levels of football. This includes players from lower grades of football who have shown standout form (both locally and interstate), players from comparative levels (WAFL, VFL, NEAFL) and of course, those exiting the AFL system. Player recruitment is extremely competitive. For every player we contact, multiple other clubs will also be reaching out. Our job is to be ahead the pack.
One of our main recruiting priorities was to increase our pace. The recruitment of Josh Koster (Glenelg) and Sam Davidson (Port Adelaide Development Squad) has filled this need. Both have genuine pace with ability to play both in the midfield and in the forward line. We also wanted to increase our midfield running capacity. Jordon Boyle (Adelaide Development Squad) and Ed Allan (Sturt), both excel in this area. Our ruck stocks have increased with the inclusion of Stuart Taverner. Standing 202cm, Stuart is a late comer to Australian Rules, who displayed great form in local football this year, winning the Best & Fairest at Plympton FC. Dominic Grant has also joined the Club from NT Thunder. We expect Dominic to push for league selection across half back. He also possesses strong pace. Having consolidated our depth, in key areas, we are now focused on filling key positions in the team. We are actively looking for a key position forward and another experienced midfielder. We are also in talks to secure another key position backman or 3rd tall. With most recently delisted AFL players waiting on either the free agency period and or draft (late November), we need to be patient in our efforts. For most, the opportunity to reignite their AFL career remains their priority, should this not eventuate, we aim to make West Adelaide a destination of choice. I am confident that through continued effort by our Club staff, we will fill the identified needs and put together a very competitive list for 2020.
As with each new season, some players will look to play elsewhere. Errin Wasley-Black has moved to Brisbane with his young family. Jono Beech is relocating to the Gold Coast to spend time with his brothers and to take opportunity to travel. We expect to have Jono back in Westies colours in 2021. Hugh Haysman has decided to pursue football and work opportunities that have presented in Melbourne, while Chris Schmidt has retired from League Football. Each of these players have contributed significantly to our Club and will be missed. Rest assured, as players move on, new players emerge to take their place. With 13 players from this year’s U/18 finals team at preseason training, a new batch of Young Bloods is raring and ready to make their mark on League Football.