West Coast chairman Russell Gibbs has backed veteran Shannon Hurn to play on next year.
Speaking on ABC’s Sportstalk, Gibbs said he expected Hurn to be at the club as a player in 2023.
Hurn, soon to turn 35, will play his 317th game this weekend and is expected to finish in the placings in the Eagles’ best and fairest this year.
“He is not only an exceptional player. The way he prepares himself is elite. You can see that just looking at the guy. His focus and his leadership in that group is essential,” Gibbs said.
“It is essential when you bring these young guys in, the Jai Culleys, Brady Houghs, Rhett Bazzo and Harry Edwards to have a guy like Shannon Hurn who doesn’t say a lot but when he does say something everyone listens.”
Gibbs said he believed it was possible for the Eagles to return to finals in 2023.
“We haven’t been able to have all of the players out there. We haven’t had Oscar Allen out there, haven’t had (Campbell) Chesser out there, haven’t had (Dom) Sheed out there, haven’t had Tommy Cole and others. It is really hard to know how the list is at this point in time,” he said.
“We will go to the draft this year. We will get the best talent that we can. I would hope that our rebound is going to be pretty quick. Is that making the eight next year? I wouldn’t rule that out of the question. Hopefully, I am not being overly optimistic but hopefully, it is possible for us to do that.”
He also confirmed that West Coast were planning for Josh Kennedy to have a farewell game against Adelaide at Optus Stadium next weekend.
“Certainly that is the plan at this stage. He has still got to get through training to play the game. I know there are a lot of guys that would like to play with Josh. He is highly respected throughout the club,” he said.
The Eagles will choose a successor to Gibbs in the coming months. Lawyer Paul Fitzpatrick is considered the favorite to take the role, but Gibbs said there was no decision at this point.
“You do need to have time. It is a very time-consuming role. While you need to have a feel for on field you need to have a real feel for how the business is run as well. Then we will put that out to the directors and ask them do they feel they can fulfill those requirements,” Gibbs said.
“If the answer is yes they can then we will go to a confidential vote within the board.”