Eagles coach wants Wirrpanda to play on - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles coach wants Wirrpanda to play on

By Justin Chadwick 11/08/2009 05:48:27 PM Comments (0)

West Coast coach John Worsfold is eager for veteran David Wirrpanda to continue his AFL career for at least one more season but premiership midfielder Chad Fletcher has been told he will be de-listed at the end of the year.

Worsfold also declared forward Ashley Hansen, utility Brent Staker and tagger Tyson Stenglein were all required players going forward despite the trio enduring torrid seasons.

Wirrpanda has notched 225 appearances for West Coast since making his debut as a skinny 16-year-old back in 1996.

The 30-year-old has missed just three games this season and has indicated his desire to play on in 2010.

Worsfold said that while a final decision wouldn't be made until the end of the season, he was keen to see the sweeping defender play on as long as his body remained in good shape.

"I think some of the things he does in the game shows he can still perform at the highest level comfortably," Worsfold said on Tuesday.

"The advice he would be giving to guys like Sam Butler ... Scott Selwood and Patrick McGinnity - it's good to have him around."

But the end is nigh for Fletcher, who played the opening three rounds of the season but has featured for West Coast just once since - in round 14.

The 29-year-old veteran of 178 games has been in superb form for WAFL club Subiaco, regularly racking up in excess of 30 possessions a game.

But with West Coast's young squad hitting good form in the dying stages of the season, Fletcher is facing an uphill battle to even notch a farewell match for the Eagles.

"The fact Chad hasn't played for quite a while, my gut feeling is that farewell games are generally for guys that are in a side and playing and you know it's their last game," Worsfold said.

"But to bring in a player who hasn't been in the side for a number of weeks just to play a farewell game is fairly rare and I don't know if there's a lot of value in that.

"He's wanted to play all year and yes, it would be fair to say he's not achieving what he wants to achieve.

"He understands it's the end of his career at the West Coast Eagles and for where he's at it's probably the end of his AFL career.

"He's been aware of that for a fair time."

Staker gathered 24 possessions and booted three goals for East Fremantle on Saturday in his second competitive hit-out since recovering from a broken hand.

The 25-year-old is yet to reach his full potential despite playing 108 games over seven seasons for the Eagles but Worsfold believed Staker would soon hit peak form.

"I believe his best football is ahead of him," he said.

Worsfold said Staker, Hansen and Stenglein were all in line for a recall for Saturday's clash with North Melbourne at Subiaco Oval.

But Adam Hunter is expected to spend at least another week in the WAFL as he strives to prove his troublesome shoulder can hold up for at least another season.

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