West Coast chairman Russell Gibbs has admitted there were times in the Eagles’ horror 2022 campaign where he wished it was “all just a bad dream.”
Addressing the crowd at the John Worsfold Medal on Friday night, Gibbs acknowledged the disastrous year in which the club finished in 17th, the worst-ever result in the Eagles’ history.
“I must admit there have been times during the season where I’ve thought, ‘I’m going to wake up and this was all just a bad dream’,” Gibbs said.
“But to forget the season would be a lost opportunity.
“Not only is there a lot we can learn from the year, and take away, but there’s also important moments that we should celebrate, as well as people that we should thank.
“The takeaway that I have from this year was that our club is incredibly united.”
Gibbs said challenges and external noises were inevitable, but how the club handled the turmoil was something he was proud of.
“In that regard, can I thank the directors, the executives, in fact all of the staff, players and coaches of the West Coast Eagles for staying tight, for staying focused throughout the season,” he said.
“And in particular, I’d like to thank (chief executive) Trevor Nisbett for his amazing leadership of our club.”
Gibbs will now relinquish his title as chairman, with the Eagles to find a successor ahead of the 2023 season.
“It’s been a wonderful privilege and a great honour to serve, in some small way, the club that I’ve supported since they very first began,” he said.
It came as Tom Barrass snared his first Worsfold Medal, with the defender rewarded for a superb season down back that saw him named in the 44-man extended All-Australian squad.
Fellow backman Shannon Hurn was second.