Eagles coach stays coy on contract talks with Gaff

Eagles coach stays coy on contract talks with Gaff

West Coast coach Adam Simpson has revealed he has held no new discussions on the future of suspended midfielder Andrew Gaff after the All-Australian resumed training with teammates in Perth this week.

Gaff, 26, is a hotly sought-after free agent with the gifted winger potentially switching to North Melbourne or Melbourne next month.

Eagle Andrew Gaff is a free agent at the end of the season.

Eagle Andrew Gaff is a free agent at the end of the season.Credit:AAP

In the days after Gaff’s emotion-charged return to the club, Simpson confessed his priority was preparing West Coast for an historic first-ever home qualifying final at Perth’s plush new sports stadium against Collingwood on Saturday evening.

The Eagles are widely tipped to topple the Magpies and advance to a home preliminary final in a fortnight.


Star key forward Josh Kennedy returns as West Coast's premier scoring avenue after nursing a nagging knee injury for the past six weeks.

Gaff rejoined West Coast training on Monday after his whopping eight-match ban for an ugly smack to the face of Fremantle's teenage rising star Andrew Brayshaw in a spiteful derby a month ago.

The classy ball-winner remained in Melbourne after his tribunal hearing and unfortunate sudden serious illness of his father.

Gaff is a front-runner to finish extremely high in West Coast's fairest-and-best voting this season.

He was the club's top ball winner across 19 outings in 2018, averaging 31 disposals a game and booting 12 goals.

But missing the last three home-and-away engagements and then at least two West Coast finals will probably prevent Gaff from adding a second club champion award that he won three years ago.

West Coast ruckman Scott Lycett has been pivotal for the Eagles this season.

West Coast ruckman Scott Lycett has been pivotal for the Eagles this season.Credit:AAP

The 26-year-old Victorian could well have been leading the voting at the time of his high-profile suspension after the derby, with West Coast captain Shannon Hurn and ace on-baller Elliot Yeo tipped to vie for the honour.

West Coast management is awaiting confirmation of Gaff’s future plans and have indicated potential to match any offer made to the two-time All-Australian.

Any match to Gaff’s offer to leave will either tempt the big possession-winning winger to stay at West Coast, or for Eagles management to negotiate a trade in a bid to cover his loss.

Simpson indicated talks with Gaff could escalate after the Pies clash on Saturday.

"I haven’t gone to that space yet," Simpson told Fox Sports when asked of any developments on his contract.

"I’m concentrating on my role at the moment ... and that's to try and beat the Pies on the weekend.

"We will worry about that stuff later on."

West Coast insiders are understood to be reluctantly resigned to losing Gaff, who has played 175 games for the club.

Leading ruckman Scott Lycett is also tipped to leave as a free agent, with raging anticipation he is headed back home to South Australia via a whopping contract at Port Adelaide.

Under AFL free agency movement regulations, West Coast will be subject to potential compensation draft picks if Gaff and Lycett leave.

If Gaff was traded in a switch back to his home state, then compensation for Lycett could be in the range of a pick at the end of the first round of this year’s talent-rich national draft, with West Coast's first pick not until number 20.

Eagles’ list management staff traded their first round selection last year to the Gold Coast to stockpile selections in a strategy to recruit a host of West Australian talent from WAFL ranks.