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Wellingham chases success on the home front
Sharrod Wellingham, back, challenges West Coast's Matt Priddis during last month's semifinal at the MCG. The pair will be Eagles teammates next season. Pic: AFL Media

Sharrod Wellingham will achieve a lifelong dream by becoming a West Coast player after the Eagles yesterday traded pick 17 to Collingwood in exchange for the premiership midfielder.

Wellingham asked the Magpies to trade him to West Coast after playing 92 games, including the 2010 premiership.

Recruited from Perth with the 10th selection in the 2007 rookie draft, the 24-year-old grew up supporting the Eagles and always had a desire to play for the club.

“The dream was to play in a premiership and to play for West Coast,” Wellingham’s manager Carlos Da Costa said. “He’s won a premiership and now he’s playing for West Coast. The dream will be topped off when they win another premiership.

“He wants to share in some great success with the team that he’s barracked for his whole life.”

West Coast list manager Craig Vozzo praised Collingwood for not delaying the deal and accepting a fair offer.

Wellingham will sign a three-year deal when he returns from a holiday and deliver Eagles coach John Worsfold even more depth in the midfield.

West Coast were determined to bolster their midfield during the trade period and Vozzo said Wellingham was a perfect fit.

“He’ll improve us and certainly improve our midfield,” Vozzo said.

“We see it as a pretty important get for us. We’re pretty happy it’s done.

“The great thing about Sharrod is he can play inside the centre square and outside the centre square so he’s very much a utility that can play a variety of roles.

“I think that’ll be pretty handy for us because he adds to the depth in a variety of areas and roles.”

West Coast can now set their sights on coming to terms with St Kilda in a trade for former East Fremantle midfielder Jamie Cripps, who wants to return to WA.

The Eagles have offered St Kilda their second-round selection, No.38, in exchange for Cripps, but the Saints are yet to accept.

They must also find a new home for midfielder Koby Stevens, who has asked to return to Victoria.

West Coast are speaking with the Western Bulldogs, Essendon, Collingwood and St Kilda about a trade for Stevens.

Meanwhile, Claremont key forward Jesse Hogan joined Melbourne yesterday after the Demons and GWS agreed to a deal which gave them the second pick in the upcoming mini-draft.

Melbourne handed GWS picks three and 13 in the national draft in exchange for the mini-draft choice they’ll use to select Hogan, Giants’ Northern Territory zone player Dominic Barry and the 20th pick in the national draft.

GWS now have selections one, two, three, 12 and 13, leaving them ideally positioned to bolster their list with talented youngsters.

Despite being just 17 and ineligible to play in the AFL until 2014, Hogan is 195cm and 97kg, and his hands were among the largest at the recent AFL draft combine.

AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan said Hogan’s presence and aggression belied his age.

“Just the competitiveness and his contested-marking ability set him apart. At 195cm, they are quite rare,” Sheehan said.

“That’s why they’ve rated him at choice three. He’s got big mitts, he’s a big powerful kid.

“He reminds me of Michael Hurley but he’s quicker and Hurley played at full-back.

“He’s similar in shape and size.”

Sheehan said Hogan became a clear contender for the mini-draft while playing for the AFL Academy against an open-aged New Zealand team that included former Fremantle forward Adam Campbell.

Hogan started that game in attack but the academy team needed someone to stop the aggressive Campbell and Hogan did the job.

“In the period of one hour we thought ‘how good does this kid look’,” Sheehan said. “He’s just so competitive and powerful and disciplined and provided run out of defence. That set up in our mind that this kid could be fairly good.

“Then you jump forward to the under-18 nationals and he’s at centre half-forward, smashing packs, taking contested marks, kicking important goals and lifting WA. He was their most dangerous player.”