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Eagles quick to extend small forward's deal

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Willie Rioli is keen to repay West Coast's faith - AFL,West Coast Eagles,William Rioli
Willie Rioli is keen to repay West Coast's faith
I want to be a one-club player
Willie Rioli

WEST Coast has locked away one of its exciting young forwards, with goalsneak Willie Rioli inking a two-year contract extension. 

The 22-year-old's deal means he will be tied to the Eagles until at least the end of 2020.

"I want to be a one-club player," Rioli told westcoasteagles.com.au.

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"West Coast has been a great support for me and my family since I moved over here. I am grateful to the club for giving me the opportunity.

"Last year I didn’t play much footy, so for them to give me another two years, I didn’t want to say no.

"West Coast has been a great family club for me and no doubt I want to repay the favour.

"I still pinch myself everyday getting on the bus with Nic Nat (Naitanui), Mark LeCras and Josh Kennedy. It’s still something I definitely don’t take for granted."

Rioli made his debut in round two against the Western Bulldogs and has shown promising signs after hamstring issues wrecked his season last year.

The lively small forward was used in midfield bursts by coach Adam Simpson in the round three victory over Geelong, but helped fill the hole left by Liam Ryan (ankle) against Gold Coast on Saturday night and booted two goals in the thumping 80-point win.

Hailing from a famous football family, Rioli looms as a bargain-basement pick up after being snared at selection 52 in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft.

The Tiwi Islands product shed 16kg to earn a shot at AFL level and trimmed-down again over summer, carefully managing his eating habits and training regime.

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With Rioli locked-away, the Eagles will be keen to secure two other young forwards in former Subiaco high-flyer Ryan and Jake Waterman on longer-term deals.

Ryan's initial two-year draft contract expires at the end of 2019, while hard-working father-son product Waterman is out of contract this season after being the last player picked in the 2016 draft at No.77 overall.

The Eagles have several big fish in the free agency pool still to tie-down, with intercept king Jeremy McGovern, prolific wingman Andrew Gaff and ruckman Scott Lycett uncontracted beyond this year.