The West

West Coast are keen to target another midfielder during the trade and free-agency period as they attempt to break back into the top four and challenge for their fourth premiership.

The Eagles' season ended after their 13-point semifinal loss to Collingwood on Saturday night and denied them the chance to play in consecutive preliminary finals.

West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett said the impending return of Mark LeCras and Mark Nicoski from long-term injuries and improvement of rookie Brad Dick would give the forward line added firepower next year, and Mitch Brown's WAFL form showed the club had defensive depth.

Bolstering the midfield, which has already been improved by the development of Scott Selwood, Luke Shuey and Andrew Gaff, would be a priority.

"If we don't improve, we can't win it, and we're here to win it," Nisbett said.

"Consequently, we need to improve our squad, improve the way we play, improve the group in its entirety. Then with any luck we'll be good enough to make the top four which makes you a genuine chance of winning it.

"We'll certainly look at all avenues. We've done it before and we've got people in that we need. We probably need a midfielder.

"We're in good shape (salary cap wise). We just need to make sure we get the right people. It's so important to get the balance right.

"We certainly won't be paying over the odds for players to come into our group. We've got a very settled group and we don't want to unsettle the group."

The Eagles have focused on building their list at the draft in recent years and only three players on their senior list have played for other clubs - Josh Kennedy, Josh Hill and Bradd Dalziell. They also have Dick, who played for Collingwood, on the rookie list.

With Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs having compensation picks in the first round of this year's draft after losing players to Greater Western Sydney, West Coast's first selection won't come until No.17. Nisbett said the club would consider trading that pick to bolster the squad.

"We've always drafted underneath, but if we can find the player that can complement our list, naturally we'll go for it," Nisbett said.

"When we have in the past, it has worked for us. We've got in Tyson Stenglein, Daniel Chick in previous drafts and they've been really good players for us.

"We got Josh Hill this year and none of them were seen as big fish. They were seen as good, solid players and I think Josh has been wonderful for us this year."

Nisbett said key forward Quinten Lynch had been offered a new contract while Mark Nicoski and Andrew Embley would also be given new deals.

He said the club wanted to retain midfielder Koby Stevens. Nisbett said the coaches would wait until after Sunday's WAFL grand final to talk to Stevens.

"We certainly won't be paying over the odds for players to come into our group."" West Coast chief executive *Trevor Nisbett *

The West Australian

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