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Duggan set to re-sign with Eagles

West Coast Eagles Premiership defender Liam Duggan is set to resist overtures to return to his native Victoria, revealing plans to re-sign with the club before the end of the season.

Duggan’s contract expires at the end of the 2021 campaign, but the 24-year-old revealed on Sports Breakfast on Thursday that his management and the club are in the process of negotiating a new contract with the Eagles.

“We’re right in the middle of negotiations and hopefully close to finishing some of that off,” Duggan said.

“We’re in a pretty good position with the club, me and my management are happy.

“We are just working through the finer details and hopefully it’s not long before I sign on. It’s something that should happen in the near future.”

Duggan, who is currently sidelined due to a knee injury has played 109 games for the Eagles since being taken with pick 11 in the 2014 AFL draft, playing a key role in the premiership side of 2018 across half back.

He has since progressed in to a midfield role, and is set to become a mainstay of the West Coast side as part of their push their next premiership with several stars beginning to reach the twilight of their careers.

Duggan outlined the likely recovery timeframe for his knee injury, aiming to return after West Coast’s bye in round 13.

“Anything before that (the bye) will be a bonus, there is a likelihood the knee will be ready to go before that as well,” he said.

“The bye will be a good starting point for me though.”

The left footer said the Eagles would support troubled forward Willie Rioli after his latest indiscretion that has his career hanging by a thread, having been spared jail after pleading guilty to drug possession in Darwin last month.

“It’s disappointing for Willie that he’s probably going to suffer a little bit of a setback now, as a player and as a mate we will continue to put our arm around him and help him where he needs help,” Duggan said.

“It’s a little bit out of our hands as a playing group, but he’s still a mate and we need to support him.”

Teammates in the 2018 premiership triumph over Collingwood, Duggan hoped the club would persist with Rioli, although admitting he would need to win back the trust of the playing group.

“He’s a great player and he’s made some mistakes, hopefully we can be there to help him to rectify those,” he said.

“It’s what Willie does from now that’s important. If and when he comes back to the club how he conducts himself then and the work that he is willing to put in and I think that’s the big thing now.”

Duggan confirmed that Tom Barrass and Jeremy McGovern were likely starters for the game against Adelaide, which concludes the round at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

IMAGE: West Coast Eagles website.

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