Will Schofield (born 24 January 1989) is an Australian rules footballer playing for the West Coast Eagles in the Australian Football League (AFL). At 196 centimetres (6 ft 5 in) tall and weighing 92 kilograms (203 lb), he is a versatile defender who has played key-position and half-back roles throughout his career. He was drafted by West Coast from the Geelong Falcons with pick 50 in the 2006 national draft, and debuted in round 17 of the 2007 AFL season. Schofield has played in two AFL Grand Finals: a loss in 2015 and a victory in 2018. He achieved life membership at West Coast in 2016 after playing 150 games for the club.
Schofield after the 2018 AFL Grand Final
|Date of birth||24 January 1989|
|Original team(s)||Geelong Falcons (TAC Cup), Geelong College (APS)|
|Draft||No. 50, 2006 national draft|
|Height||196 cm (6 ft 5 in)|
|Weight||92 kg (203 lb)|
|Current club||West Coast|
|2007–||West Coast||189 (22)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of ef1 2019.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Originally from Geelong, Victoria, Schofield played junior football for Newtown & Chilwell Football Club, Geelong College in the Associated Public Schools of Victoria (APS) competition, and the Geelong Falcons in the TAC Cup. He was named in Geelong College's 2001–2010 Team of the Decade at full back. Schofield was also a strong athlete in his youth, and was invited to participate internationally on a scholarship.
2007–2013: Early career
Schofield was drafted by West Coast with the 50th pick overall in the 2006 national draft, and made his senior debut for West Coast in round 17 of the 2007 season against the Western Bulldogs at Docklands Stadium. From 2007 to 2009, Schofield usually represented Peel Thunder in the West Australian Football League (WAFL), playing 41 WAFL matches over the three seasons. In the same period, he played 15 AFL matches. In 2010, Schofield began to play more often in the AFL, reaching 20 games in a season for the first time in his career. He played 12 of the first 13 matches in the 2011 AFL season, signing a two-year contract extension (to the end of 2013) in the middle of the year. Schofield polled one vote in the 2011 Brownlow Medal; as of 2018 he has not polled another in his career. Schofield finished the season with 23 games, followed by a 20-game season in 2012.
Schofield played 16 matches in the 2013 AFL season, averaging 7.8 kicks, 4.3 handballs and marks, and 2.2 tackles per game. 2013 was also the first season Schofield played for East Perth in the WAFL as part of the West Coast–East Perth alignment. Notable games from his AFL season included a 14-disposal, nine-mark, three-tackle effort against the Western Bulldogs in round 6; a round 16 Western Derby where he amassed six marks, 17 disposals, two goals and seven hit-outs; and a round 19 match against Gold Coast where he recorded four tackles, five marks, two goals and 14 disposals. In round 8, Schofield overcame a compound dislocation of his finger to play out the final quarter of the match: coach John Worsfold praised his efforts and estimated he would miss "a couple of weeks" after surgery.
2014–2018: Grand final success
In the 2014 AFL season, Schofield played 14 AFL matches and three WAFL matches. Going into the 2015 AFL season, he increased his size by four kilograms to improve his play against larger opponents, encouraged by coach Adam Simpson. He missed the last game of the NAB Challenge and round 1 of the home-and-away season after hurting his ankle. Key defenders Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown suffered serious knee injuries in the NAB Challenge and round 1 respectively, forcing Schofield to play as a key defender rather than a running half-back. In round 12, playing against Richmond, he injured his glute late in the game. Simpson was unable to estimate how many weeks he would miss. Schofield suffered another injury, this time to his calf, against Sydney in round 17. He was substituted at the end of the third quarter. Simpson was unsure whether Schofield's calf was strained or merely corked. After playing in a draw against Gold Coast – the first of his professional career – Schofield said he liked extra time and golden point systems present in other sports and suggested it would be interesting to implement them in the AFL. In the grand final against Hawthorn, he recorded 12 disposals and three marks. Schofield commented that Hawthorn "were just way too good" and "it took us too long to get into gear", but said the loss would be a "driving force" over the pre-season.
In early 2016, Schofield signed a three-year contract extension with West Coast (until the end of 2019). During the 2016 AFL season, he achieved life membership at West Coast after playing 150 games for the club. Schofield played 22 AFL games for the year. In 2017, Schofield was a "sporadic pick" for the senior side. During half-time in a match against Melbourne, Schofield was reported by umpire Brett Rosebury for striking after knocking Clayton Oliver on the chin with his elbow. He was offered a one-match suspension by the AFL Tribunal as the strike was graded as intentional with low impact. The charge was successfully challenged and the impact was downgraded to negligible. However, Schofield still missed a match against the Western Bulldogs due to a hip injury. Overall, he played 10 games for the 2017 season.
Before the 2018 AFL season, Schofield lost weight in an attempt to increase his versatility. He anticipated pressure on his backline spot from other West Coast defenders, but said he would use it as motivation. He impressed in a WAFL match against Perth in April, recording 18 disposals and nine rebounds from half-back. A month later, he injured his hamstring halfway through the first quarter in a loss to South Fremantle and could not play out the match. After returning to the AFL, he suffered another hamstring injury against Fremantle in the first quarter, and did not return to the field after receiving treatment. Schofield was expected to miss two matches after scans revealed a minor strain. After returning against Brisbane, Schofield's place in the backline was under pressure in the lead-up to West Coast's first final as Lewis Jetta returned from a calf injury. He was dropped from the side, but returned in the preliminary final after Brad Sheppard injured his hamstring. Schofield commented, "To be left out was really disappointing, but I pretty quickly came to the realisation that it wasn't the end of the season." Fellow defender Tom Barrass praised Schofield's mindset and was confident he would be able to cover the loss of Sheppard in the grand final. In the grand final, Schofield played on Collingwood forward Jordan De Goey and won several one-on-one match-ups at critical moments. He played all possible time on field, becoming the sixth West Coast player to do so in a grand final. Schofield said post-match he had been nervous about playing on De Goey, but said it was part of his defensive role and he had tried his best. At the conclusion of the WAFL season, Schofield polled one vote in the 2018 Sandover Medal.
In 2013, Schofield was attacked while in Geelong after a round 22 loss to Collingwood. He suffered a broken cheek and serious bruising to the face, causing him to withdraw from the last match of the season. A man pleaded guilty to the unprovoked assault in the Geelong Magistrates Court.
Correct to the end of the 2018 AFL season.
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
- Wade, Nick (4 October 2015). "Family helps key Eagle Will Schofield with perspective in defeat". Geelong Advertiser. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
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- "Eagles lock away Mackenzie, Schofield". ABC News. Australian Associated Press. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- "2011 Brownlow Medal". AFL Tables. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- "West Coast Brownlow Medal Career Totals". AFL Tables. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- "Eagles and Dockers sign WAFL club alignment". ABC News. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- "Player Review: Will Schofield". westcoasteagles.com.au. AFL Media. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
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- "Schofield adds size". westcoasteagles.com.au. AFL Media. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- Malcolm, Alex (22 March 2015). "West Coast sweats on defenders' fitness". afl.com.au. AFL Media. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- "Schofield steps up". westcoasteagles.com.au. AFL Media. 11 April 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
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- Wade, Nick (4 October 2015). "Family helps key Eagle Will Schofield with perspective in defeat". Geelong Advertiser. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- Quartermaine, Braden (23 March 2016). "Will Schofield and Brad Sheppard become latest West Coast Eagles to sign contract extensions". PerthNow. Seven West Media. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- "Life Members". westcoasteagles.com.au. AFL Media. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
- Rynne, Nick (6 August 2016). "Brutal month looms for West Coast, says Schofield". The West Australian. Seven West Media. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- "Backline stocktake: How your defenders are tracking". afl.com.au. AFL Media. 19 March 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- King, Travis (27 June 2017). "Eagle Will Schofield not guilty of Clayton Oliver strike". afl.com.au. AFL Media. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- Michael, Luke (29 June 2017). "Will Schofield one of four West Coast omissions for crunch game against Western Bulldogs". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- King, Travis (6 March 2018). "Eagle sheds weight to be more versatile". afl.com.au. AFL Media. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- Dickinson, Rhys (24 April 2018). "Developing Eagles fire against Demons". westcoasteagles.com.au. AFL Media. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- Dickinson, Rhys (23 May 2018). "Injury ravaged Royals succumb to Bulldogs". westcoasteagles.com.au. AFL Media. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- Coleman-Heard, Rory (5 August 2018). "Hamstring injury claims Eagles defender". afl.com.au. AFL Media. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- Dickinson, Rhys (7 August 2018). "SJOG Injury Update: Schofield hamstrung". westcoasteagles.com.au. AFL Media. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- Quartermaine, Braden (2 September 2018). "Popular West Coast Eagles defender Will Schofield in selection gun ahead of Collingwood final". The West Australian. Seven West Media. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- "Schofield preparing for bittersweet Grand Final". westcoasteagles.com.au. AFL Media. 23 September 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- Wildie, Tom (26 September 2018). "AFL grand final: Eagles veteran Will Schofield seizes chance after teammate's untimely injury". ABC News. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
- O'Donoghue, Craig (10 September 2018). "AFL Finals 2018: Tom Barrass backs Will Schofield to step into the void for West Coast". The West Australian. Seven West Media. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- Whiting, Michael (29 September 2018). "Schofield caps emotional year with a flag". afl.com.au. AFL Media. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
- Blucher, Peter (3 October 2018). "Grand Final: Stats wrap". westcoasteagles.com.au. AFL Media. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
- Olle, Sarah (30 September 2018). "AFL Grand Final 2018: Will Schofield's tribute to his late dad and friend with premiership win". Fox Sports Australia. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
- Dickinson, Rhys (18 September 2018). "Partington leads the way at Sandover Medal". westcoasteagles.com.au. AFL Media. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- Zimmerman, Josh (15 July 2018). "West Coast Eagle Will Schofield welcomes new addition to the nest". PerthNow. Seven West Media. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- "Man avoids jail for attack on West Coast Eagles' Will Schofield". The Age. Fairfax Media. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- Clark, Jay (6 June 2014). "West Coast defender Will Schofield won't let a nightmare king-hit in 2013 define his future". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Will Schofield.|
- Will Schofield's profile on the official website of the West Coast Eagles
- Will Schofield's playing statistics from AFL Tables
- Profile at WAFL Online