Worsfold defends AFL coaches - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Worsfold defends AFL coaches

Justin Chadwick 08/06/2011 04:19:27 PM Comments (0)

West Coast coach John Worsfold believes the cut-throat nature of AFL coaching is denying a host of proven leaders the chance to rebuild their sides into premiership contenders.

Experienced coaches Neil Craig (Adelaide) and Rodney Eade (Bulldogs) are fighting for their futures as their respective sides struggle to stay in touch with the top eight, while master coach Kevin Sheedy was shown the door at Essendon in 2007 when the Bombers felt they needed a a fresh face at the top in order to get back into premiership mode.

Worsfold himself appeared destined for the chopping block last year after the club managed just four wins in a disastrous wooden spoon campaign.

The 2006 premiership coach has since sparked a remarkable turnaround that has the sixth-placed Eagles (6-4) firmly on track for a finals appearance, and Worsfold said West Coast's improvement after three years in the doldrums was a good example of how a coach could turn things around if given adequate time to do so.

"That's been a little bit of the culture of Australian rules football with coaching - if a new group needs to be built up, well let's not entrust the previous coach, let's give it to a new coach to do it," Worsfold said ahead of Saturday's clash with struggling Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

"And the new coach invariably gets a little bit longer and therefore sees that group come through.

"It doesn't frustrate me too much but sometimes I would question the sense in it and say that there would be better ways to do it ...

"I'm not in a position to challenge that at the moment, but I certainly have given my board a lot of feedback over the last two or three years on my views on how you build teams up.

"I went through it from 2001 and 2002, and I've learnt a lot from doing that, not only once but now going through a second phase of it.

"I'm a lot more knowledgeable now than I was. I was flying by the seat of my pants when I first took over and a lot of it was gutfeel.

"Now I use that experience in my current position."

Worsfold said he hadn't spoken to Craig, who is under immense pressure to produce results with his side sitting in 14th spot on the table with just three wins from 10 games.

"He's a fairly experienced operator," Worsfold said.

"It's not as though he's a young coach in that position early on in his career.

"He would know exactly where he's at and what his focus is and where he's going to take the group, so I'm sure he knows how to deal with all that."

Eagles midfielder Daniel Kerr, who missed last week's win over Gold Coast with a glute injury, will undergo a series of fitness tests this week to determine whether he can take part against the Crows.

Midfielder Luke Shuey (corked thigh) will also be monitored this week, while Worsfold said defenders Sam Butler (adductor) and Eric Mackenzie (foot) would be available for selection.

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