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McVeigh critical of McPhee's decision

19/11/2009 10:17:27 PM Comments (0)

Essendon veteran Mark McVeigh has hit out at former teammate Adam McPhee by saying there is no room for disloyalty at the AFL club.

McPhee this week quit the Bombers and will enter the pre-season draft in his bid to be recruited by Fremantle, where the 167-game utility began his career.

McVeigh, one of Essendon's most experienced players and a candidate to succeed the retired Matthew Lloyd as skipper, said McPhee's decision was disappointing and hinted that his reason for leaving was inadequate.

"It was disappointing, it was a real surprise," McVeigh said on Thursday.

"We would have liked to have known earlier and maybe we could have got something for him (in a trade).

"But that's his decision. I know I've read in the papers that he's great mates with (Fremantle coach and former Essendon player) Mark Harvey and I find that a bit hard to believe.

"Being close to Harvs myself, I felt that was a bit of a smokescreen.

"Our current players - here before you - are loyal. Anyone that isn't, is out."

McPhee's departure has opened the door for the Bombers to try to snare ex-St Kilda midfielder Luke Ball in next Thursday's national draft.

The Dons are yet to speak to Ball, but chief executive Ian Robson said the 25-year-old would come under strong consideration.

Ball nominated Collingwood as his destination of choice after requesting a trade from the Saints, but a deal could not be done, leaving Essendon well-placed to thwart the Magpies' hopes because they have earlier picks in the draft.

"We will continue to do our preparations for next week and he will feature in our thinking," Robson said.

"We have four picks inside selection 33 and we are excited by the four young men who will join us. He may be one of them.

"We are contemplating all of the options from a list management perspective, from ability, to age, to total player payment requirements.

"We all recognise and respect Luke's ability and he has enormous character. We haven't made any categoric decisions other than acknowledging that he is nominated and is under consideration."

McVeigh said Ball's experience would be valuable to the young Bombers midfield in light of McPhee's departure.

"After injuries to myself and Andrew Welsh last season, Jobe (Watson) had to carry a lot of that inside ball work in the midfield and I think Luke Ball could help fill that role," he said.

McVeigh, speaking at the launch of Essendon's membership drive, said he would love to succeed Lloyd as skipper, but was confident despite their young list the Bombers had plenty of options.

"We would all love to be captain of the club and it is a dream of mine, but there are three or four other guys that would do it comfortably," he said.

"Whoever it is will have a good support group behind them. It would be a huge honour but there are others that could do it."

McVeigh's captaincy aspirations were dealt a major blow in 2009 when he was suspended by the club for missing training after a late-night drinking session, which came soon after he was suspended for one game by the league for striking Melbourne's Jared Rivers.

Meanwhile, the AFL has succeeded in its hope of encouraging former players to take up careers in umpiring, as former Essendon and Carlton player Jordan Bannister will take up a position in an umpiring academy in the aim of officiating in AFL games.

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