The 31-year-old Eagles flag defender will hang up his boots at the end of this year’s finals campaign.
After joining the Eagles as a 50th round pick in the 2006 national draft, Will Schofield will round off his AFL career after this year’s finals campaign, playing 190 games for the Eagles and scoring 22 career goals.
Schofield made his senior debut against the Western Bulldogs in round 17 of the 2007 season.
Throughout his career he has battled hard to get into the Eagles first-team side, playing mostly in the WAFL for Peel Thunder during the early part of his career.
In 2010, Schofield started to get more consistent game time, notching 20 appearances for the West Coast that season, but was never a regular face in the squad and struggled to keep his place in the side.
“I don’t have the fight to keep bashing Simmo’s (Adam Simpson) door down for a game and that’s how footy’s been for me a little bit, I haven’t been a mainstay.” – Schofield in a press conference this morning.
In more recent years, Schofield played on the outskirts of the Eagles squad, playing a career-high of 22 games in the 2016 season where he received a lifelong membership at the West Coast, racking up 150 appearances for the club.
“Although I’ve always tried to play my role, I have been in and out of the team and I’ve come to accept that.” – Schofield.
In his press conference, the Eagles Stalwart spoke about how it has “always been a fight and I’ve loved that. I love the competition.” Schofield has certainly put up a fight and has been a valuable player for the Eagles, pulling the side through some difficult situations and achieving career success that some AFL players can only dream of.
But he’s also had to battle his way through some personal matters during his playing career.
“Getting dropped just before the 2018 finals series and losing the 2015 Grand Final from a footy perspective they were both extremely difficult times.” – Schofield.
Getting dropped just before the 2018 finals was certainly a tough blow to take for Schofield, but after Brad Sheppard was ruled out with a hamstring tear, he came back to play an integral part in the West Coast’s grand final win, dominating the dangerous Jordan De Goey, ultimately helping the team score their last-minute wonder goal to beat Collingwood.
The defender recalled his role in the winner, stating “I felt like I needed to take it upon myself as the fullback of the team who has never left the back 50m in four years to run down the centre of the MCG and kick a goal for the team,” that kickstarted the phase of play that caused Jeremy McGovern to take that amazing mark which set up the combination of passes between Nathan Vardy, Liam Ryan, and Dom Sheed, ultimately leading to the goal.
“Without me running down the middle trying to be a hero, that doesn’t happen.” – Schofield said.
He was also one of few players who went on to play out the whole final and is revered by his teammates for being one of the most resilient players in the squad, being a great mentor to the younger defenders in the squad, and has a reputation for always being up for a laugh, calling himself “a players player.”
“I never missed a footy trip and have been the fines master for three or four years. Although it may sound comical, they’re the sort of things I’ll miss, being around the boys.” – Schofield.
Schofield also lumped praise on Barras and McGovern and is proud to have seen them develop as footballers, and admitted although he’s not “an All-Australian, leadership group guy I’ve been a team player, played my role and I did get one Brownlow vote, so can’t take that off me either.”
The humble defender is now looking to spend some quality time with his family while running a small batch wine cellar with ex-Eagle Chris Masten.
“But now it’s about the time that’s right to spend more time with the family, I’ve got one little fella at home and another on the way,” said Schofield.
“My wife copped a lot from me over the years, so I think she has been proud but she’ll also be happy I’ve hung the boots up.”
But I don’t think this will be the last time we see Will Schofield turning out on an oval pitch as he hinted in his press conference that he still has a couple more games left in him
“Might run around at WAFL next year but we’ll see how we go.”