Eagles close ranks as pressure mounts - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles close ranks as pressure mounts

By Justin Chadwick 15/06/2010 06:19:16 PM Comments (0)

Besieged West Coast coach John Worsfold says there's no way the Eagles will finish this year with the AFL wooden spoon as speculation mounts that both he and the club's hierarchy are in the firing line.

Worsfold's position has come under renewed pressure since last week's 49-point mauling at the hands of last-placed Richmond, which left the Eagles with just three wins from 12 rounds ahead of Sunday's home clash with the Bulldogs.

While Worsfold fronted the media on Tuesday, Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett and chairman Mark Barnaba were placed off limits amid reports the club's administration could be replaced from top to bottom.

"Nizzy's not in the gun, Barnaba's not in the gun, Woosha's not in the gun," an Eagles spokesman said.

"That report is way off the mark. We are not going to respond to that."

Earlier this month, Nisbett declared Worsfold would coach the Eagles until at least the end of 2011 and the 2006 premiership coach said he still felt safe in his role despite the building pressure.

"I'd be silly to think, with the team the way it is, that a lot of people aren't going to question the coaching performance," Worsfold said on Tuesday.

"I would expect that's a normal thing.

"So I'm not worried about that, no."

Worsfold even guaranteed Eagles fans the club wouldn't end the year with the wooden spoon despite being just one win and percentage above a resurgent Tigers outfit.

"It won't happen, so no emotion at all ... absolutely (confident)," Worsfold said.

Karl Langdon, who played with Worsfold in West Coast's 1992 premiership win, scoffed at talk the Eagles were a club in crisis.

"They've had issues but I just think going out and shooting everyone is a bit premature," Langdon said.

"When senior players go and have meetings and front their coach then there's an issue, but I haven't heard any of that at West Coast.

"I've spoken to quite a few players and I know a few of them personally.

"None of them have expressed any blame towards their coach at how they're being instructed to play."

Sydney coach Paul Roos has been mentioned in some circles as a possible replacement for Worsfold but Langdon said that would be a mistake.

"To me it comes down winning premierships and if you base it on that Paul Roos hasn't done any better than John Worsfold," Langdon said.

"You can keep on recruiting mature-age players like he has at Sydney and keep on making the eight, but if you still don't win premierships then what's the point?"

Worsfold, who captained West Coast to two premierships during a glittering playing career, did concede there was more pain to come for the rebuilding Eagles.

"We are probably at our real bottom point in terms of building this group up," Worsfold said.

"Last year we were playing (Adam) Hunter and (David) Wirrpanda, (Chad) Fletcher, (Tyson) Stenglein, (Brent) Staker, (Mark) Seaby.

"Those guys aren't here because we didn't think they were going to be part of our next premiership.

"But we have to understand we had to go backwards. We've gone to a younger squad this year."

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