Contract talk won't worry Eagles AFL coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Contract talk won't worry Eagles AFL coach

By Justin Chadwick 14/09/2011 08:57:24 PM Comments (0)

West Coast coach John Worsfold and Carlton counterpart Brett Ratten will lock horns on Saturday night, safe in the knowledge their hard-earned AFL contract extensions are just around the corner.

Ratten rubber-stamped his future at the Blues with last week's 62-point elimination final victory over Essendon, while Worsfold secured his own future months ago by masterminding West Coast's dramatic rise from wooden spooners to top-four powerhouses.

But with a place in the preliminary final up for grabs at Patersons Stadium on Saturday, both Worsfold and Ratten have cast aside talk of their own contract situations to focus on pre-game preparations.

"I spend about 10 minutes a week thinking about my contract at the moment, and it probably needs a couple of hours (more) to work on (before it's finalised), so you do your sums," Worsfold joked when asked how much longer it would take before his new deal was finalised.

"It's a fair way to go."

But while Worsfold's future is a fait accompli - with the length of the new deal the only question mark - the future of Eagles assistant coach Scott Burns remains unclear.

Both Adelaide and Melbourne are sounding out the former Collingwood midfielder but Worsfold was confident it wouldn't distract Burns from the job at hand.

"I think Burnsy will put the required time into that (his preparation for interviews) when he's got some down time," Worsfold said.

"I've got no doubt he's 100 per cent focused (on the Eagles at the moment) and will get the job done for us.

"It would be a big loss (if he left the club) but it would be awesome for him if he could get a senior position."

Ratten, who in his fourth full year as coach finally has a finals win under his belt, was reluctant to talk about his contract situation after the win over Essendon, but is guaranteed to stay at the helm after his side's strong improvement this year.

The Blues posted 14 wins and a draw during the home-and-away season to indicate they will be a force in the coming years.

"They're a good team all around," Worsfold said.

"They don't just have an attacking team, they put a lot of defensive pressure on as well.

"They're a team that's been on the march for a number of years, steadily improving, and we're seeing that."

Worsfold declared Eagles ruckman Dean Cox (back spasms) and midfielder Daniel Kerr (back soreness) as certain starters for the do-or-die clash with Carlton, while defender Ash Smith is an outside chance to force his way back into the side after overcoming a minor hamstring complaint.

However, fresh doubts surround Cox's availability after the four-times All-Australian failed to train on Wednesday afternoon.

Dressed in thongs, shorts and a T-shirt, Cox watched from the stands as his team-mates went through their paces.

But in better news, Kerr moved freely and showed no signs of any discomfort.

The Blues are almost certain to be without key ball-winner Bryce Gibbs (shoulder) and ruckman Matt Kreuzer, who is struggling to overcome a mystery foot injury.

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