After being announced as a new addition to the Victorian Football League in 1986, West Coast was given exclusive access to players from the WAFL to form its 35-man inaugural squad, but was excluded from the national draft. The club was also permitted to sign up to six players from rival VFL clubs.

On 30 October 1986, the club revealed a preliminary squad of 32 players, including three Sandgropers returning home from Victorian clubs - Phil Narkle (St Kilda), Dean Turner (Fitzroy) and inaugural captain Ross Glendinning (North Melbourne).[1] The preliminary squad was as follows:

David Bain (E.Perth) Laurie Keene (Subiaco) Phil Narkle (St Kilda)
Adrian Barich (Perth) Dean Laidley (W.Perth) Michael O'Connell (Claremont)
Glen Bartlett (E.Perth) Dwayne Lamb (Subiaco) Paul Peos (E.Perth)
Darren Bennett (E.Fremantle) Chris Lewis (Claremont) Phil Scott (Subiaco)
Michael Brennan (E.Fremantle) Andrew Lockyer (E.Fremantle) Dean Turner (Fitzroy)
Peter Davidson (Subiaco) Andrew MacNish (Subiaco) Dean Warwick (W.Perth)
John Gastev (Subiaco) Chris Mainwaring (E.Fremantle) Rob Wiley (Perth)
Ross Glendinning (N.Melbourne) Steve Malaxos (Claremont) John Worsfold (S.Fremantle)
Paul Harding (E.Fremantle) Wally Matera (S.Fremantle) Murray Wrensted (E.Fremantle)
Don Holmes (Swan Dist.) Paul Mifka (W.Perth) Mark Zanotti (Subiaco)
Alex Ishchenko (E.Perth) Geoff Miles (Claremont)

Aside from Glendinning, Narkle and Turner, only three players had previous VFL experience - Miles (31 games for Collingwood), Malaxos (9 games for Hawthorn) and Wiley (95 games and a premiership with Richmond). Three places were left vacant to allow the club to recruit further VFL players, one of which was expected to be Hawthorn's Gary Buckenara. East Fremantle ruckman Paul Harding was included in the preliminary squad despite an official complaint from the Hawks, who believed they had signed him for the 1987 season.

In the end neither Buckenara nor Harding was on West Coast's 1987 list, with the Victorian Supreme Court upholding both players' contracts with Hawthorn,[2] and the VFL fining the new club $60,000 for attempted poaching.[3] David Bain was also a late cut. Five players were added to the side, John Annear (Richmond), David Hart (South Fremantle), Sean King (West Perth), Don Langsford (Swan Districts) and Glenn O'Loughlin (Subiaco).


  1. Patrick Smithers, The Age (31 October 1987, p.34), "West Coast Eagles show their colours"
  2. Buckenara v Hawthorn Football Club Ltd [1988] VR 39; Hawthorn Football Club Ltd v Harding [1988] VR 49
  3. Ron Carter, The Age (28 August 1987, p.28), "West Coast up for $220,000"
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