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UPDATE: Gaff rejects Roos, stays with Eagles

Why Eagles are excited: the best of Andrew Gaff Watch the best highlights of re-signed Eagle Andrew Gaff

ANDREW Gaff has decided to remain at West Coast after being seriously tempted to join North Melbourne as a free agent.

The Eagles made an official announcement on Sunday that the midfield star would commit to the club for 2019 and beyond.

The dual All Australian delayed a decision on his future until after the season as he grappled with remaining with the Eagles or moving to Arden St on a deal that was understood to be for seven years and worth about $8 million.

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Gaff was genuinely torn between the two clubs, but ultimately his loyalty to West Coast swayed his decision.

The 26-year-old, who missed the Eagles' premiership while serving an eight-week suspension for striking Docker Andrew Brayshaw, said he was dreaming of the club's next flag.

"I am very happy and I'm looking forward to building on the strong relationships that have been forged over the last eight years," Gaff said.

"I want to be a part of team success.

"It was unfortunate that I could not be a part of the grand final, just as it was for Nic Naitanui and Brad Sheppard.

"We know there are no guarantees, but with the rest of the squad I will start pre-season with the aim of creating another opportunity."

The Kangaroos have already won commitments from Jared Polec and Aaron Hall ahead of the NAB AFL Trade Period and have also been linked with Nic Newman and Jeremy Finlayson.

Although they could yet switch their attention to another big fish this year, the Roos appear all but certain to make another huge play for GWS star Josh Kelly at the end of next season.

Gaff generated feverish interest this year from six clubs in his home state, Victoria, understood to also include Melbourne, Carlton and St Kilda.

But North was able to jostle its way past that pack to be the restricted free agent's clear first choice if he decided to return home, something Robbie D'Orazio of his management company, Connors Sports, acknowledged last week.


The Kangaroos suffered similar near-misses with Kelly and Richmond superstar Dustin Martin last year, but those disappointments have not deterred them from continuing to target opposition midfield stars.

As he pondered his future, Gaff had to deal with some personal crises.

First, he was suspended for eight weeks for striking Fremantle's Andrew Brayshaw.

His father then suffered a serious bout of ill-health.

Finally, he was forced to watch on as his West Coast teammates redeemed their 2015 Grand Final disaster to win the club's fourth premiership with a thrilling win over Collingwood.


"We are obviously delighted that Andrew has decided to remain at the club," Eagles head of football Craig Vozzo said.

"Andrew had a lot to consider in making what was a complex decision and we couldn't be happier that he has re-committed to the club and his teammates.

"He is a young man of exemplary character and is universally respected across all levels of our club."

Gaff's recommitment is a massive boost for the Eagles, who look set to lose premiership ruckman Scott Lycett to Port Adelaide via free agency.

However, it could complicate their efforts to trade for wantaway Cat Tim Kelly given they would have received a first-round free agency pick if Gaff left.

The Eagles are also circling Bulldogs free agent Jordan Roughead, but might be forced to trade for him to avoid diluting the end-of-first-round compensation pick they will likely receive for Lycett's departure.