Sharrod Wellingham has got his wish and is now an Eagles player after West Coast and Collingwood came to an agreement on the second day of the AFL trade period.
After president Eddie McGuire said the Eagles would have to pay up if they wanted the premiership player, the Magpies will be licking their lips, receiving pick 17 from the Eagles in exchange.
For Wellingham, the move means a return to his home state of Western Australia.
The Magpies were keen to keep him and had offered him a new contract, but he decided the urge to move home was too great.
Fremantle and Melbourne also expressed interest in the midfielder.
Wellingham played 92 games for the Magpies, including 20 games this year after making his debut in 2008. He was recruited from Perth at pick 10 in the 2007 Rookie Draft and has averaged 18 possessions per game since he made his debut.
For the Eagles, Wellingham adds to their young, strong midfield. At only 24, he will join Daniel Kerr, Scott Selwood, Luke Shuey, Matthew Priddis, Chris Masten and Andrew Gaff in the middle of the park for the Eagles. With the exception of Kerr, they all have their best football ahead of them and will only improve.
Wellingham will never be the number one player in the midfield, and much like at Collingwood, he is down the peaking order of players opposition teams will look to tag, which suits his style. As many of the Eagles midfield in and under players, he gives them a bit more pace on the outside.
Even though the Eagles add another premiership player to its side, the Magpies are the real winners. Having taken Wellingham in the Rookie Draft, Collingwood has received a first round draft pick for him, which many would say is way too much for a player of Wellingham’s ability
While consistent, he has never been a stand out player and lacked scoreboard pressure on a weekly basis. He failed to make the top ten in Collingwood’s best and fairest this season.
While losing Wellingham is a loss for the Magpies, he is one of the midfielders they would prefer to lose. They still have Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan, Dayne Beams, Dale Thomas and Steele Sidebottom, who are genuine stars, and Luke Ball will return.
It now means they have picks 17 and 18 in the upcoming National Draft, the first time the club has had two first-round draft picks since 2006. In recent years, the Magpies have traded away top picks for players like Ball and Darren Jolly, and this allows the club to further develop its younger brigade.
Collingwood had seven players make their debuts this season, and Nathan Buckley has shown he wants to give the young players a go. With another first-round draft pick in their pocket, Collingwood is sure to add to number of young guns running around for the team.