Eagles defend Hunter after Heath Black jibe
West Coast have returned serve at former Fremantle utility player Heath Black for damning comments he made about 2006 premiership star Adam Hunter after a regional grand final on Sunday.
Chief executive Trevor Nisbett said the way Black questioned Hunter’s courage after a brutal South West Football League grand final in Bunbury was “staggering”.
Hunter, an Eagles life member after 151 games and booting the winning goal in the 2006 grand final against Sydney, received six stitches to a cut across his eye from an off-the-ball incident early in the game.
Black, who played 192 games for Fremantle and St Kilda before battling depression and alcoholism, coached Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault to a surprise victory over red-hot South Bunbury at Hands Oval.
Black said HBL took their opponents “mentally and physically into areas that they have never been to.”
Certain players were targeted, especially Hunter, who Black claimed: “I knew from his playing days at West Coast that he couldn’t cope with it.”
Nisbett said it was “extraordinary” to question Hunter’s courage.
“I thought it was an astonishing comment from a fellow competitor,” Nisbett said. “With his own chequ-ered career, you would think he’d be a little more circumspect when he speaks about a fellow competitor.
“I was staggered by the comments that Heath made on behalf of himself and Fremantle that cast those aspersions at a player such as Adam.
“Adam Hunter is probably one of the hardest players who has gone around in the AFL with some of the courageous things he’s done in his football career. He was an amazing player and the comments are totally unfounded, untrue and unfair.
“I would think most West Coast Eagles supporters would be abso-lutely staggered by those comments about one of the great players.”
Nisbett cited Hunter’s match-winning goal in a remarkable come-from-behind win at Skilled Stadium in 2006 after having his face smashed in when Geelong forward Cameron Mooney pushed him into a dugout.
He also praised the 29-year-old for going back to his original country club despite carrying a serious shoulder injury that prematurely ended his AFL career at the end of 2009.
“Most people wouldn’t even be playing football with the shoulder he’s had,” Nisbett said.
South Bunbury are expected to make a formal complaint to the league after watching several video in- cidents.
President Craig Cahill admitted his club had been guilty of similar acts in the past but those tactics were not acceptable in the modern era.
“We don’t expect to get any sympathy and don’t want to sound like sooks, but we’re bitterly disappointed that Adam Hunter’s character has been questioned after what he’s done for football,” Cahill said.
“He’s not worried about what happened … but it was uncalled for. Undoubtedly, South Bunbury have done that same thing in the years past but that’s where it should stay.”