How does Perth stack up if their AFL talent returned to tackle the WAFL

Friday, May 8, 2020 - 10:14 AM

The Perth Demons would pose a formidable opponent.

First of all, hands up any WAFL full-backs who want to play on Buddy Franklin?

Second, Perth might not have seen finals since Noah was a kid but we suspect that, in our reconstructed WAFL, refuelled with their AFL-listed players, the Demons would be in the mix for one of the last two spots in a finals series.

If we view Claremont and East Fremantle as the likely pacesetters in this competition with Swan Districts nipping at their heels, the Demons would like their chances of mixing it up with the likes of South Fremantle, West Perth and Subiaco for those last two spots in the top five.

And having the “Big Bud” at full-forward wouldn’t hurt their hopes. In 300 AFL games, he has kicked 944 goals at 3.15 per game. Even at 33 we would be backing him to have one last big WAFL season in him if he could keep his body together.

And the forward half is where this team’s power would lie.

The Demons would be relying on young Tiger Sydney Stack to add some spark, skill and life to a WAFL back line with a definite loading of talent towards the other end.

We have left Cody Leggett with the Demons for the purposes of this exercise because at the moment he is still officially a Perth player.

Cody Ninyette has left for South Fremantle and would have been handy.

Chris Masten and Dean Kent add some real run and power to a centre line highlighted by Jaeger O’Meara in the middle.

Carlton’s Zac Fisher and Brisbane’s young gun Deven Robertson add some purpose and polish to a first ruck division which would be anchored by the highly competitive, if slightly under-sized, Christian Eyres.

The Dees will love the half-forward line. There is a great player waiting to explode out of Geelong’s Quinton Narkle who is still just 22, 25 games into his career and has shown a bit. Chris Mayne played as the second forward foil to Matthew Pavlich at Fremantle for much of his career. GWS’s Bobby Hill has class we expect to see more of in his second AFL season.

We have put a bit of magic around Franklin, too. Sydney draftee Elijah Taylor is rated by some recruiters as the most talented player to come out of WA in last year’s draft.

In the other pocket, Michael Bennell has to overcome injury and inconsistency, but if Buddy couldn’t inspire him, who could?


Written by Mark Duffield, originally published by The West Australian, Wed 6 May.