West Coast assistant coach Jarrad Schofield has defended the club against accusations they are too soft on overweight players.
Schofield was responding after being asked about Friday’s column in The West Australian by his Port Adelaide premiership teammate Kane Cornes, which accused coach Adam Simpson of letting professional standards slip and called for the Eagles to write weight clauses into players’ contracts.
“It’s interesting to hear that because I haven’t seen Kane in these four walls since I’ve been here in the last eight months,” Schofield told SEN.
“Every club goes through it. Have a look at Melbourne three years ago where they couldn’t get their players on the park and now they’re a premiership side looking to go back-to-back.
“It’s one of those years. We’re a proud club. But people have perceptions and views and they’re entitled to that.
“I can give you the true facts and that is that we are doing everything in our power to make guys drive high standards.
“We want them to be as fit as we can. We want our best players on the park. And we’re a really connected playing group and coaching group and footy department.”
The Eagles made three changes for Sunday’s final home match of the season against Adelaide, with retiring spearhead Josh Kennedy joined by fellow inclusions Samo Petrevski-Seton and Zac Langdon. Langdon will play his first game since round six after missing most of the season with a serious ankle injury.
West Coast lost Jack Petruccelle (hamstring) and Connor West (wrist) to injury, while youngster Jai Culley is suspended.
Kennedy has been joined in the line-up by nine of his teammates from the 2018 premiership side in Luke Shuey, Shannon Hurn, Tom Barrass, Liam Duggan, Liam Ryan, Jack Darling, Jamie Cripps, Willie Rioli and Jack Redden.
Jackson Nelson, Rhett Bazzo, Greg Clark and last week’s sub Hugh Dixon were named as emergencies.
The Crows, who have stuck with the same 22 that upset Carlton last weekend, are the only team yet to win at Optus Stadium. They defeated West Coast by 31 points when they met at Adelaide Oval in round 12.
Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks said the emotion of Kennedy’s farewell game would be a huge challenge for the Crows to deal with.
“He’s been an incredible player for that footy club and there’s probably none bigger, respectfully to some of the superstars they’ve had, and I’m pretty sure they’ll pack out the stadium,” Nicks said.
“So it will be a great experience for our guys, but a challenging one. I can imagine the first five or 10 minutes should be red hot.”
The Crows have their own milestone with star midfielder Rory Laird playing his 200th game, but the build-up has been completely overshadowed by the re-emergence of their infamous 2018 pre-season camp controversy on the back of revelations from former players Eddie Betts and Josh Jenkins.
“It’s business as usual when it comes to our footy,” Nicks said.
“These guys have put their head down. They’re playing a game of footy.”