Sam Butler is set to play on at West Coast next year, with coach Adam Simpson saying the premiership player's maturity will be critical to a young squad in 2015.
The 28-year-old delivered a telling 32-disposal performance in Sunday's win over Collingwood at Patersons Stadium.
Butler's form has built gradually since being recalled for the round-13 match against Gold Coast.
The defender is out of contract at the end of the season, but appears almost certain to sign a one-year extension and escape the off-season cull many were predicting earlier in the year.
Butler could next year be the sole surviving player from the club's 2006 premiership still at West Coast, with veterans Dean Cox and Darren Glass retiring this year and the playing future of injury-troubled Beau Waters still in doubt.
Simpson said he had been impressed by Butler's output in recent weeks as the Eagles close in on an unlikely finals berth.
"It's probably what people have been saying on what he can deliver. His body's been an issue for many years," Simpson said.
"But what he has done is he provides a bit of maturity and what I spoke about before, about making the right decisions at the right time.
"He'd be pleased with his game (against Collingwood). He was good for us. We're still a young group.
"I've said this before as well, that once Cox and Glass move on, the list is going to be pretty young. Having that maturity, along with (Shannon) Hurn and (Eric) Mackenzie - and (Xavier) Ellis - is critical."
Butler's five rebound 50s and 14 marks against Collingwood were the most of any West Coast player.
He has now played 117 matches since his debut in round 10, 2004.
The 2003 No.20 draft pick has consistently battled soft-tissue injuries during his 11 seasons, but has been backed in by West Coast whenever his career's appeared in jeopardy.
He will be the Eagles' second-oldest player next year, behind 29-year-old Matt Priddis.
Of those playing a similar role in defence, only Jamie Bennell and Brad Sheppard have been regular selections.