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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The small cost that could’ve kept West Coast star Elliot Yeo at the Brisbane Lions

Before re-stocking at the national draft, many players escaped Brisbane’s grasp.
And, in hindsight, no departure would hurt more than that of Elliot Yeo, whose first West Coast contract, allegedly, included a salary that wasn’t too dissimilar to the one he could’ve agreed to at the Lions.
Yeo was part of the infamous ‘go-home five’ group that left the Brisbane Lions after the 2013 season. Yeo, along with Sam Docherty (Carlton), Jared Polec (Port Adelaide), Billy Longer (St Kilda) and Patrick Karnezis (Collingwood), all moved to rival clubs to return to their original states.
But, according to Melbourne champion Garry Lyon, it wouldn’t have taken Yeo much more convincing to stay at the Lions had they come fractionally closer to his financial demands.
“Elliot Yeo, I am told reliably, would’ve stayed at Brisbane for $250,000 — and they wouldn’t go over $225,000,” Lyon told Fox Footy’s On the Couch.
“That could be the worst $25,000 not spent ever.”
Now, Yeo is one of the best players at West Coast and one of the game’s most dynamic midfielders. And he’d be on a lot more than $250,000 a year.
Yeo was arguably the best player on the ground during the Eagles’ emphatic win over Richmond, finishing with 29 disposals, 15 contested possessions, 10 clearances, seven inside 50s and 557 metres gained.
While he was brilliant offensively, it was his work without the ball that impressed Lyon, even claiming Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin holding the ball in two occasions.
“He was unbelievable,” Lyon said.
“The pressure they applied was unbelievable — and Yeo led the way, he was superb.
“That was symptomatic and symbolic of what happened.”
To the eye, the Eagles’ pressure was outstanding — and that was reflective in their Champion Data pressure reading of 184 — above the AFL average (182) — compared to Richmond’s uncharacteristically low 167.
Interestingly, though, it was a low tackle game, with West Coast leading the count 56-42.
But that was predominantly due to the Eagles’ biggest weapon: Their elite kicking game, which has catapulted them into flag contention.
West Coast controlled the tempo of the game and disallowed the Tigers from winning the footy. It finished with 56 more kicks than Richmond, while it also had an extra 47 more marks. In fact West Coast’s tally of 111 marks was the most against Richmond since Round 15, 2017.