IT NOW seems almost inevitable West Coast vice-captain Scott Selwood will play alongside brother Joel at Geelong from next season.
Although West Coast and those close to Selwood maintain his future is far from decided, well-placed industry sources are adamant the 25-year-old will seek to join Geelong in October's free agency period.
At his weekly press conference on Thursday, West Coast coach Adam Simpson was hopeful of keeping Selwood, saying the restricted free agent remained "an important part" of the Eagles team.
It's worth noting, though, that Simpson was speaking on the day West Coast announced the re-signing of 20-year-old midfielder Dom Sheed.
Sheed and Liam Duggan – the Eagles' first picks in the past two national drafts, both at No.11 overall – have emerged as exciting midfield prospects this season.
Sheed has averaged 19.4 possessions in 14 matches and was the round 15 NAB AFL Rising Star nominee, while Duggan played 12 games in a row after debuting in round two against Carlton, before suffering a season-ending posterior cruciate ligament injury in the WAFL two weeks ago.
Selwood's 2015 season, on the other hand, has been a struggle.
The right ankle injury that sidelined him for 10 weeks last season and disrupted his 2015 pre-season has continued to restrict him this year.
Sidelined for six weeks after the round one loss to the Western Bulldogs, Selwood has not missed a game since, but in three of those matches he has started as the Eagles' substitute.
Simpson acknowledged on Thursday that Selwood had worn the green vest this year partly because the Eagles' midfield had been "performing pretty well" without him.
Against this backdrop, it's expected the Eagles and their vice-captain will accept that a move at the end of the season is in both parties' best interests.
Selwood's decision won't be based on money, with the chance to play under Geelong captain Joel – and at the club where elder brother Troy is the Academy and VFL manager – his primary motivation.
Nonetheless, the 2012 Eagles best-and-fairest winner is widely expected to be offered about $500,000 a season by Geelong.
Given Selwood is a restricted free agent, the Eagles will have the right to match such an offer.
However, an offer of that magnitude – and Selwood's relative youth for a free agent – could earn West Coast an end-of-first-round compensation pick.
This would seem too good to refuse, especially when the Eagles could potentially use that pick in a trade for out-of-contract Sydney Swans speedster Lewis Jetta, who is expected to seek a move home to Western Australia.
Geelong, meanwhile, will bolster its midfield with a ready-made player, who is expected to overcome his ankle troubles by the start of next season.
If their plans to lure fellow free agents Patrick Dangerfield and Matthew Leuenberger, and out-of-contract Carlton swingman Lachie Henderson to Simonds Stadium succeed, the Cats will have repositioned themselves to climb back up the ladder in 2016 despite Hamish McIntosh's retirement and the expected departures of veterans Corey Enright, James Kelly, Jared Rivers and, possibly, Steve Johnson.
Everyone stands to win if Selwood moves to Geelong.
All three parties know it. All three will do their bit to make it happen.