Eagles great in awe of Darren Glass - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles great in awe of Darren Glass

Justin Chadwick 04/08/2011 04:52:53 PM Comments (0)

Inaugural West Coast skipper Ross Glendinning has praised Darren Glass for guiding the AFL club out of its dark days, saying the current Eagles skipper is in career-best form and deserves greater recognition for his leadership.

The Eagles were a club in crisis when Glass took over as skipper at the end of 2007, with the highly-publicised off-field dramas and Chris Judd's defection to Carlton resulting in a swift slide from premiership contender to bottom-four strugglers.

Last year's wooden spoon was the ultimate low, but the resurgence this season has been just as remarkable, with the fifth-placed Eagles set to be a major player in the finals.

The timing of West Coast's return to form couldn't have been scripted better, with the club celebrating their 25th year in the competition with an inaugural Hall of Fame function on Friday night.

Past greats such as Dean Kemp, Peter Matera, Guy McKenna, Glen Jakovich and current coach John Worsfold are tipped to be inducted.

But Glendinning, who captained the Eagles in 1987 and '88 after a glittering 190-game career with North Melbourne, was just as impressed with the club's current crop of players, and in particular Glass' leadership over a tough period.

"He (Glass) led the playing group out of the darker times and I think his form this year - he's not rated as highly by some as he should be," Glendinning said on Thursday.

"It's not just about how you play, it's about how you lead the group.

"He would never say it, but I reckon he's in career-best form.

"He's disciplined, he's mature and he plays the game fairly.

"He's not extroverted, but you just know what you're going to get with Darren Glass every week, every night at training.

"That stability is so important and he's earned a lot of respect through the competition and through the playing group.

"That respect is so very important. Then to have a moulding ability of the players below you to come up and take your place is also part of that leadership."

Glass' 2010 campaign was ruined by a groin injury, but the 30-year-old hasn't missed a beat this season and is on track to earn his third All-Australian jumper.

The no-nonsense defender has also played a pivotal role in grooming Eric Mackenzie to be his successor, with the 23-year-old now regularly taking on the opposition's best forward.

Glass tipped Mackenzie to be given first crack on Richmond's Jack Riewoldt at Patersons Stadium on Sunday, saying the young Eagle had already proven himself in the big occasions.

"Eric's an outstanding young defender. I've said time and again before that he's well and truly advanced on what I was (at his age)," Glass said.

"It does take some time to develop in that role. You have to learn some harsh lessons. I think he's really well placed to continue on and have a great career."

Glass, a lifelong West Coast supporter, is yet to decide whether to continue on as captain next year, saying he still loved the role but would re-assess the situation at season's end.

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