Worsfold's fate to rest with young guns - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Worsfold's fate to rest with young guns

By Justin Chadwick 11/03/2011 02:02:30 PM Comments (0)

It is often said the darkest hour is just before the dawn.

For West Coast, it was pitch black last year as just four wins and the club's first ever wooden spoon had fans baying for blood by season's end.

The unrelenting criticism would have been too much to handle for most men.

But for Eagles coach John Worsfold, it seems to have only strengthened his resolve.

Driven by the unwavering belief his fledgling squad will soon come good, Worsfold is optimistic about what lies ahead.

"I don't really care if people harshly judge us or not," Worsfold said.

"We are not going to hide behind the fact it was a very disappointing year and it hurt to finish bottom.

"But the aim is to bounce back and win a premiership as quickly as possible.

"Last year was extremely tough ... you don't want to be down the bottom.

"But it would be even tougher to take if you thought there was no prospect of coming out of that in the near future.

"Our members and supporters need to be able to see the pathway we've built.

"At the moment I'm telling them it's there and they're doubting it, so we need to show them we're on track."

If it was anyone else coaching West Coast last year, in all likelihood they would have been shown the door after three straight seasons out of the finals.

But it's not easy to sack a favourite son of the club, a man who captained the Eagles to premiership glory in 1992 and '94 before guiding West Coast to the title as coach in 2006.

Given all he has achieved, Worsfold was granted another season to prove his worth.

However, there will be no tolerance for another season of failure, meaning the pressure is on Worsfold to produce the goods if he is to earn a contract extension.

Worsfold is confident his group is ready to flourish, drawing comparisons to the young team he took over from Ken Judge at the end of 2001.

"It doesn't mean we're going to be premiership favourites this year," Worsfold said.

"But fans should already be excited about the fact they've got the opportunity to watch Nic Naitanui's footy career at the West Coast Eagles and the careers of Luke Shuey, Chris Masten, Andrew Gaff - and I can keep reeling them off.

"Now they want to see those guys in winning teams."

West Coast's defence seems fairly stable, with the return of skipper Darren Glass from a groin injury a crucial addition to the puzzle.

With Josh Kennedy and 2010 All-Australian goalsneak Mark LeCras lurking in the forward line, that part of the ground is sound.

But it is West Coast's young midfield that will feel the pinch.

At just 25 years of age, Matt Priddis will be the general of an on-ball division featuring up-and-comers such as Scott Selwood, Shuey, Koby Stevens, Brad Sheppard, Brad Ebert, Matt Rosa, Patrick McGinnity, Tom Swift and Andrew Strijk.

Daniel Kerr will be a handy inclusion, but how he fares after almost a year out of the game with a serious hamstring injury remains to be seen.

"They are going to have to work hard to break even," Worsfold says of his midfield group.

"They're going to have their work cut-out but we've got the talent there, and they're not always going to be the youngest midfield.

"In a couple of years' time, they'll be playing on some midfields younger than them and they'll be the bullies and it will be fun for them."

The time is now for West Coast's young guns to prove their worth ... the future of their coach depends on it.

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