Hometown lure part of Gaff’s big AFL call

By , 25/04/2020 19:36

West Coast wingman Andrew Gaff says returning home to Victoria factors into seeking a new AFL home.West Coast star Andrew Gaff admits a return to his home state of Victoria is a strong lure as he considers whether to seek a new AFL home.

The hard-running ball magnet will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season and is certain to be in high demand from Melbourne-based clubs.

With Eagles skipper Shannon Hurn remaining in Perth to nurse his stiff back, Gaff filled in at Thursday’s annual club captains’ meeting in Melbourne.

The 25-year-old has lived in Perth since being drafted in 2010 but admits the chance to return to his home town remains an attractive prospect.

“It’s always going to be there,” Gaff told AAP.

“A lot of my school friends, friends outside of footy, are here and family’s here as well, obviously.

“It’s always nice to come back every now and again but it’s something I’ve got to weigh up.

“I’ve always done my contracts towards the second half of the year so, if that happens, that happens. We’ll wait and see.”

Two-time All-n defender Jeremy McGovern will also be a restricted free agent at season’s end, and the Eagles will likely have to spend big to retain both players.

On-field performance is also expected to be an influential factor, with the Eagles hoping to avoid a slide down the ladder after last year’s semi-final exit.

Gaff admitted the 62-point thrashing the Eagles copped from Fremantle in their final trial match was a “wake-up call”.

He is hopeful Daniel Venables, Luke Partington and Brayden Ainsworth can develop quickly, as West Coast’s midfield looks to cover for retired Brownlow Medallists Matt Priddis and Sam Mitchell.

And he backed second-year forward Jake Waterman to step in for injured spearhead Josh Kennedy when West Coast hosted Sydney in round one.

“Definitely, I think he’s ready,” Gaff said.

“He’s played well over the last year or two. None of us really played well against Freo but it was tough for guys like Jack (Darling) and Jake on the weekend.

“However long it is until JK is back, we hope he does well and he’s given himself every chance of playing well.”

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