Worsfold disappointed in errant Gardiner - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Worsfold disappointed in errant Gardiner

By Tim Clarke 19/07/2006 06:34:45 PM Comments (0)

The depth of disappointment felt by West Coast over Michael Gardiner's latest off-field transgression was starkly revealed, when coach John Worsfold said not even an injury crisis would persuade him to recall the errant ruckman.

Gardiner's Eagles career, and quite possibly his AFL aspirations, were ended Tuesday when the club suspended him indefinitely, on full pay, after an alcohol-fuelled car crash in Perth.

Police were due to lay charges on Wednesday afternoon after Gardiner crashed his Holden Commodore through a road sign, over a roundabout and into two parked cars on Monday night.

Early Wednesday, club chairman Dalton Gooding appeared to have left the door for a return slightly ajar for the former No.1 draft pick, saying injuries to key Eagles could prompt a reprieve.

But Worsfold said such a scenario would have no bearing on his opinion of the former All Australian ruckman.

"That will have nothing to do with it, no. I am not saying it is impossible, but it would be very tough," Worsfold said.

"He has to do an enormous amount of bridge building to prove that he would be committed to what the team is about.

"He would have to do a lot more to be able to come and sit in front of me, and have me believe a commitment from him now.

"I don't know what it would take ... but it is going to be very tough for him to earn the trust and respect of our match committee and our playing group."

Expressing disappointment for Gardiner, the club and the community at the incident, Worsfold said he was confident the team would be able to cope with his absence.

But he would not be drawn on whether he thought Gardiner had a future in the AFL outside West Coast.

Gooding said Gardiner's position would be assessed at season's end.

"We have invested a lot of money in him over the years, he is a very talented player, sure he had some issues ... we are very disappointed that he would revert to alcohol on Monday night," Gooding told Southern Cross radio.

"We don't understand why Michael would do that, and obviously Michael does have some personal issues."

Those personal issues were said to be depression by the club, a label denied by Gardiner and his family.

While Dean Cox recovers from injury, Mark Seaby will take over as the Eagles's No.1 ruckman, with Jaymie Graham, Andrew McDougall and Quinten Lynch to provide possible back-up.

Worsfold said he did not feel West Coast was now under more pressure at stoppages.

"I am very confident in Mark Seaby, I am very confident in other guys that can ruck for us that have done it in the past," Worsfold said.

"Mark did most of the ruckwork last week against Sydney, and I think he rucked 25 minutes of the last quarter when we were fighting to get back and win the game. All our faith was in Mark Seaby."

With no AFL clubs publicly declaring an interest in Gardiner, Fremantle coach Chris Connolly ruled out any bid to keep him in Perth.

"I do feel for John Worsfold, you are getting into the most important area of the year and you don't need these type of distractions," Connolly said.

"He has done everything right at the club, and deserves better in terms of being able to maintain focus on their football.

"I believe someone will give (Gardiner) an opportunity ... but he just doesn't fit into our recruiting targets."

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