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Saturday, November 24, 2018

AFL draft 2018: Bailey Williams finalises West Coast’s ruck stocks

West Coast will launch their premiership defence comfortable with the depth of their new-look ruck division after bolstering their stocks with giant teenager Bailey Williams at the draft.
That is despite failing to snatch first-choice ruck target Kieren Briggs — a Greater Western Sydney academy member — from under the Giants’ noses.
The Eagles attempted to land Briggs at pick 34, but the bid was matched and they settled for Victorian product Williams.
The 18-year-old joins fellow off-season recruits Tom Hickey (St Kilda) and Keegan Brooksby (South Adelaide) as additions to a ruck brigade that has taken hits in recent months with Nic Naitanui’s second serious knee injury and the departure of free agent Scott Lycett to Port Adelaide.
Williams, who stands at 199cm and 95kg, was one of the best ruckman in the 2018 TAC Cup competition.
He starred for premiers Dandenong Stingrays and developed into a dangerous key forward.
“There’s a fair bit to like about Bailey,” West Coast list manager Brady Rawlings said.
“We rated Briggs really highly all year and put the bid in, but once that was matched we thought we’d go the next one with Bailey.
“He’s a key forward that can play in the ruck, a really athletic player and who knows where his development can go. The ruck is certainly a need that we’ve had to address over this off-season.”
West Coast took Victorian midfielder Xavier O’Neill with their first selection (28) yesterday before adding WA duo Luke Foley (31) and Next Generation Academy player Jarrod Cameron (39).
The Eagles were forced to match a bid for Swan Districts product Cameron by Brisbane, who were keen to unite the electrifying small forward with brother Charlie.