Xavier Ellis was one of Hawthorn's best players in their 2008 premiership victory. Photo: Paul Rovere
Hawthorn's 2008 premiership player Xavier Ellis will join West Coast as a free-agent signing, in a deal set to be finalised on Wednesday.
Ellis, 25, a high draft pick whose eight years at Hawthorn were marred by injury, is expected to sign with the Eagles, where he will be coached again by Adam Simpson, the new West Coast coach who has been instrumental in recruiting Ellis to West Coast.
Fremantle had also shown some interest in Ellis, who is expected to be signed on a modest contract that will not see the Hawks gain much, if any, meaningful compensation.
Ellis was a highly promising youngster with the Hawks and was among the best players in the club's 2008 grand final win, when he was just 20 and appeared set for a productive future at Waverley Park.
But injuries have conspired against the left-footer, who was selected at No.3 in the 2005 national draft. With his departure from Hawthorn, that will make seven of the top 10 picks from that draft that are no longer with their original AFL clubs. Dale Thomas (2), Josh Kennedy (4) and Mitch Clark (9) have joined other clubs, while Beau Dowler (6), Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls (8) and Marcus Drum (10) are no longer in the AFL.
Ellis was afflicted with knee, foot and calf problems in 2012, but fought his way back into the side and played in the 2012 grand final defeat; this year, he missed a chunk of the season with a strained medial ligament and missed out on the finals.
But Simpson, who knows Ellis' abilities and situation well, has clearly indicated to the Eagles that the 25-year-old was worth signing.
Ellis, who played 86 games for the Hawks, is an unrestricted free agent and can simply move to the club of his choice, costing the Eagles nothing except the terms of his contract.
Ellis becomes the second premiership player to leave the Hawks, following Lance Franklin's signing by the Swans on an extraordinary nine-year deal, with the Hawks having gained ruckman Ben McEvoy from St Kilda in another surprising transaction.
Fremantle had been on record that it had an interest in Ellis, but had already signed Colin Sylvia and has had an interest in Essendon forward Scott Gumbleton, who is out of contract and likely to move.