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AFL 2017 Round 15 - Western Bulldogs v West Coast

Malcolm Karpany will play on with the Eagles next year

WEST Coast speedster Malcolm Karpany will be facing a potentially make-or-break 2018 campaign after signing a one-year contract extension.

The 22-year-old showed encouraging progress this season playing six of his seven career games, mostly as a high half-forward.

But Karpany hasn't been able to lock down his spot in a team desperate for line-breaking run and crumbing forwards, and his fifth season as an Eagle next year could be career-defining.

"He has shown some good growth this year on the back of some hard work, but there's another level that Malcolm wants to go to and the club thinks he can get to," football manager Craig Vozzo said.

"He played another six AFL games this year to add to the one he played in last year.

"We saw some real improvement in his game during that period and we look forward to his continued growth over the pre-season and into 2018."

Karpany's best career game came in round 15 at Etihad Stadium when he slotted three goals in a crucial seven-point victory over the fast-finishing Western Bulldogs.

It appeared to be a breakthrough moment for the South Australian, but he was out of the side two weeks later due to a quad injury.

Karpany has managed only two more senior games since, with an average of nearly 12 disposals, two tackles and a goal per game this year.

He has fallen behind youngster Luke Partington in the small forward pecking order, an area West Coast has been trying to address in recent seasons.

The Eagles have high hopes for yet-to-debut livewire Willie Rioli, while out-of-contract veteran Mark LeCras' future beyond this season remains up in the air.