With many believing the Eagles were set to add to their extensive history of finals finishes in 2021, the year didn't quite go as planned for Adam Simpson's side. Here's our review of West Coast's campaign.
Season Finish: 9th.
Record: 10 wins, 12 losses.
2021 Season Snapshot
The Eagles won eight of their first 13 games, including a three-game win streak during which they topped the Dockers, Hawks and Crows by an average margin of 42 points.
However, following their Round 15 bye, the Eagles lost seven of their final nine games to finish in the dreaded ninth position.
West Coast's season highlight came in Round 13 when Josh Kennedy kicked a late go-ahead goal to help secure a win over Richmond, which put the Eagles equal-fourth on the ladder on points.
Star Player: Nic Naitanui
Naitanui was the most impressive Eagle in 2021, showcasing his centre clearance dominance and hit-out to advantage prowess in what was an injury-free season for the 201cm ruckman.
The 31-year-old, who has won consecutive best-and-fairest awards - just the fourth Eagle to manage this feat - achieved career-bests in disposals (15.2) and clearances (7.2) per game in 2021.
Naitanui, who has battled injuries for a considerable portion of his career, managed to play in all 22 games this year (his highest season total since 2015).
Breakout Player: Oscar Allen
Amongst a crowded forward-line that includes the likes of veterans Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling, Allen still managed a vastly impressive 2021 campaign that turned heads.
The 22-year-old, who just wrapped up his fourth season, averaged career-highs in marks (4.8) and goals (1.3) per game.
With the aforementioned Kennedy and Darling in the twilight of their careers, Allen is set to be the future of the West Coast forward-line.
Midfield outlook heading into next season: After the addition of Sam Petrevski-Seton - who adds lethal depth to a side already overflowing in the engine room - during the trade period, the Eagles will once again take a solid midfield unit into the new season.
Tim Kelly, Elliott Yeo and Luke Shuey still figure to be the big three in the middle of the ground, and they'll be supported by the likes of Andrew Gaff, Dom Sheed, Jack Redden and Petrevski-Seton as they look to contend for the finals once again.
Very disappointing post-bye output: Fresh off their bye and heading into Round 15 with an 8-5 record, many were expecting the Eagles to push for a top-four finish and at the very least play finals.
However, horrendous performances against the Bulldogs, Swans, Kangaroos, Magpies and Lions ensured the Eagles missed the finals for the first time since 2014.
Carrying an ageing list into 2022: West Coast's list has an average age of 24.9 years, which ranks third oldest in the AFL behind just Geelong and St Kilda.
With Kennedy, Shannon Hurn, Naitanui, Shuey, Redden and Brad Sheppard all getting closer to hanging up the boots, the Eagles would be wise to look to November's National Draft for an injection of youth as they prepare for next season.
Season Grade: C-
The Eagles would have entered the 2021 season looking to contend for another premiership, however after their top-four chances quickly faded away, the rest of their season also came crashing down.
After half-a-dozen of West Coast's losses came by a margin of 20 points or more, some may be starting to question Adam Simpson's ability to bring the Eagles back into premiership contention with many of his leaders nearing retirement.