Eagles bound for AFL's top eight: Hansen - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles bound for AFL's top eight: Hansen

By Justin Chadwick 22/01/2009 03:54:05 PM Comments (0)

West Coast forward Ashley Hansen is confident the Eagles will make a return to the top eight in 2009 after putting their off-field woes behind them.

Last year, on the back of Ben Cousins' fall from grace and subsequent admission to drug addiction, Eagles players spent valuable time being drilled about what was and wasn't acceptable behaviour off the field.

With so much emphasis on rebuilding the club's off-field culture, the Eagles were left with little time to plan for on-field success.

The result - a squeaky-clean image off the field but just four wins and a 15th-placing on it.

With West Coast's off-field culture back on track and the threat of AFL sanctions lifted, Hansen said the club had been able to spend more time this pre-season preparing strategies for on-field success.

"It's a nice change to be focusing on how we are moving the ball rather than what we are not allowed to do off field," Hansen said on Thursday.

"That definitely is going to be a part of the turnaround in success this year."

The Eagles were crippled by injuries to key players last season but with most of the squad back to peak fitness, combined with the additions of Neale Daniher, Scott Burns and Phil Walsh to the club's coaching staff, Hansen was confident of a good season ahead.

"I think we've got the talent and I think we've got the work ethic (to make the top eight)," Hansen said.

"And with the new faces around the footy club - they've introduced some really good ideas that we are going to add into our game plan and that can lead to on-field success.

"We've got a core group of players that have had premiership success and played a lot of finals football so with that experience and that excitement of youth we can really go places."

Hansen has been plagued by hamstring injuries in the past three seasons and said he was aiming to play at least 20 games this year after working hard over the off-season with the club's physios to build strength into his legs.

The 25-year-old also said he bore no grudges after being dropped from the club's leadership group, which is decided by a player vote.

"I was a bit disappointed initially because I really enjoyed my work with Darren (Glass) and the guys last year in what was a demanding year on and off the ground," Hansen said.

"But ... I'm not going to change the way I act around the footy club by any means.

"It's a players vote on a number of different criteria and I sat down with John (Worsfold) and worked out the criteria I didn't meet."

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