Swan Districts are set to fight West Coast's late bid to shift troubled young forward Murray Newman to their aligned WAFL club East Perth rather than let him play the season at his original club.
As recruit Jamie Bennell was confirmed as a Swans player despite the agreement that all new Eagles would be placed at East Perth, West Coast were eager to transfer Newman to their WAFL subsidiary.
Newman is facing a grievous bodily harm charge over a nightclub fight last year, while his pre-season fitness was so poor in November that Eagles coach John Worsfold beat him in a 2km time trial. West Coast initially attempted to move Newman to the Royals, believing his welfare would benefit under the supervision of coach Brian Dawson and his assistant Phil Narkle, the Eagles' indigenous liaison officer.
But they were told by the WA Football Commission that the alignment agreement would not allow the 19-year-old to change WAFL clubs until 2014.
The Eagles intend to appeal that decision and hope to have Newman join 11 other players who will play for East Perth this season when not required for AFL duty.
But Bennell will remain with Swans to honour a deal he signed after being de-listed by Melbourne last year.
Although West Coast rookie- listed Bennell in December, his agreement to return to Swans will take precedence until the full alignment comes into effect next year.
Fellow WA trio Jamie Cripps (East Fremantle), Cale Morton (Claremont) and Sharrod Wellingham (Perth) will be allocated to East Perth after returning to West Coast from Eastern States clubs.
They will be joined by fellow Eagles Shannon Hurn, Scott Lycett, Will Schofield, Matt Rosa and Blayne Wilson, who were originally linked to Peel.
Bennell, 22, is not likely to be fit to play until midway through the season as he recovers from a knee reconstruction last July.
He was a prominent member of Swans' lucrative 2008 crop of youngsters which saw nine players - including Nic Naitanui, Chris Yarran and Michael Walters - drafted into the AFL.
Bennell was taken at No.35 in the 2008 national draft and played 57 matches for Melbourne before damaging his knee last year.
Meanwhile, East Perth forward Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls will miss the start of the WAFL season after suffering stress fractures in his right foot.
Oakley-Nicholls is expected to be out of action for at least two months.
The former West Coast and Richmond player was at the centre of a racism furore last season that saw West Perth's Kody Manning suspended for three matches.Oakley-Nicholls was also banned late in the season when he was found guilty of biting Perth's Julian Jacobs. DID YOU KNOW? 11 Eagles-listed players will line up for East Perth this year