Eagles' Sumich scoffs at tanking talk - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles' Sumich scoffs at tanking talk

By Justin Chadwick 16/06/2008 06:00:59 PM Comments (0)

West Coast assistant coach Peter Sumich has scoffed at suggestions the AFL club is tanking, saying creating a winning culture is far more important than snaring a high draft pick.

The Eagles were criticised for not selecting veterans Michael Braun and Chad Fletcher for last weekend's 22-point loss to Essendon.

Both had trained freely on the Wednesday leading into the match but failed to make the trip east.

The club said Braun (knee) and Fletcher (back) were injured, but further questions were raised when star midfielder Daniel Kerr was ruled out on the morning of the match with a calf injury.

After 12 rounds the Eagles have just two wins and sit above only Melbourne on the table.

But Sumich said tanking games in order to improve the club's draft selections was not an option.

"That's not part of our culture at this club," Sumich said.

"I'd hate to think we'd lose the next 10 home and away games. I'd be pretty devastated and I think the fans and the club would, so we are banking on winning some games."

Sumich said Kerr, Braun and Fletcher were genuinely injured and could not play the Bombers.

"The benefits in winning are Brad Ebert, (Chris) Masten, (Tim) Houlihan, (Ryan) Davis - that they get to experience winning at this club," he said of the squad's young players.

Sumich declared Kerr a certain starter for Saturday night's clash with Geelong at Subiaco Oval, while he also expected Fletcher and Braun to return.

Beau Waters is another premiership player available for selection after serving a two-match suspension for his head-high bump on Collingwood's Shane O'Bree.

But with just one game under his belt in the past five weeks, Sumich said Waters may need to regain fitness with Claremont in the WAFL.

Waters declared he would not change his ferocious attack on the ball despite the AFL's crackdown on head-high bumps.

"It might restrict how many games I play a year ... but I'm not going to change the way I play," Waters said.

"If the footy's there to be won, I'll attempt to win it."

Forward Ashley Hansen collected 22 possessions and kicked two goals for Swan Districts on Monday but, given the short turnaround between that match and West Coast's upcoming fixture, he may be given another week in the WAFL.

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