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New Eagle Ellis will retire if body fails again

James Dampney, Nathan Schmook and Jennifer Phelan  October 16, 2013 4:30 PM

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Xavier Ellis has departed Hawthorn for West Coast

NEW WEST Coast recruit Xavier Ellis is giving himself 12 months to prove his injury-plagued body can withstand senior football or he will give up on his professional career.
 
Ellis announced on Wednesday his intention to join the Eagles as an unrestricted free agent, having made 86 appearances for the Hawks since they drafted him in 2005.
 
Just 25 years old, Ellis has had a litany of injury troubles, with foot, calf and knee complaints restricting him to just two games in 2013.

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Close friends with former Hawks assistant and new West Coast coach Adam Simpson, Ellis has told AFL.com.au's Gillette Trade Radio he believes he still has plenty to contribute.
 
But he admits another serious injury will force him to end his AFL journey.
 
"It's really short-term," Ellis said of his one-year contract with the Eagles.
 
"I had a good chat with 'Simmo' (Simpson) before we even really started negotiating that if something happened this year (2014) and I missed a lot of football, I probably wouldn’t want to keep going.
 
"Rehab is a pretty dark place if you're there for too long.
 
"If the body withstands a fair portion of the season, there are automatic triggers and what not.
 
"But until I get out there and really put the body to the test, there's probably a bit of that cloud.
 
"I'm happy with that, obviously they're happy with that and if the body's good, it will all look after itself in due course."
 
The triggers relate to the number of appearances he makes in his first year in Perth and while he is prepared for the end of his career, he feels confident it will continue beyond 2014.
 
"(The triggers) are achievable if the body holds up and if not, my time in the game, it's probably not for me anymore and we move on.
 
"At the moment I'm thrilled and to be honest I'm 100 per cent confident that the body is fully repaired and ready to go."
 
Ellis, who played in the Hawks' 2008 premiership and 2012 losing Grand Final, will become the sixth player this season to find a new home via free agency ahead of Friday's deadline.



 
As an unrestricted free agent, Ellis was free to join the Eagles without the Hawks matching their offer.  

West Coast football manager Craig Vozzo said Ellis, who was a priority selection behind Marc Murphy and Dale Thomas in the 2005 NAB AFL Draft, still had a lot to offer.

"He's a terrific person and player and if we can keep him injury-free, he'll be a great pick up for us," Vozzo said.

"It's a good chance for us to add another dimension to our midfield and backline, particularly after the departure of several senior players."

Ellis left with Hawthorn's blessing, with coach Alastair Clarkson thanking the wingman for his "valuable contribution".

"He departs as a premiership player and we wish him well for the future," Clarkson said.

"He has been through a couple of tough years with injury and we're happy to see him get another opportunity and a fresh start at the Eagles."

In other news, Taylor Adams appears a step closer to a move to Collingwood, according to his manager Scott Lucas.
 
Adams is off contract with Greater Western Sydney and is keen for a move to the Pies, with Geelong also still in the mix.
 
"It's more likely than not likely (he'll join Collingwood)," Lucas told Trade Radio.
 
"But we still need to get the deal done and we have seen before that deals don't get done at the last minute or get done somewhere else.
 
"(The Giants) really need to come up with something very good for Collingwood to deal with them."
 
Out-of-contract Sydney Swan Andrejs Everitt is still considering his future and has "met with a couple of clubs", Lucas said.
 
Everitt played a career-high 20 games for the Swans in 2013, but is considering his options after the recruitment of Lance Franklin.
 
Lucas added that Adelaide's Jarryd Lyons had been contacted by Melbourne, but was more likely to remain with the Crows.
 
Other players who have changed clubs through free agency this month are Colin Sylvia (Melbourne to Fremantle), Matt White (Richmond to Port Adelaide), Eddie Betts (Carlton to Adelaide), Lance Franklin (Hawthorn to the Sydney Swans) and Dale Thomas (Collingwood to Carlton).

Negotiations between West Coast and the Brisbane Lions over Elliot Yeo are expected to progress this week, with the midfielder now the Eagles' No.1 priority.   

A deal for contracted Carlton defender Josh Bootsma is considered unlikely.